by Nathan Jackson
After years of public pressure state lawmakers finally closed one of the most egregious loopholes in our state budget: a lucrative giveaway for out of state big banks worth tens of millions a year. It is a good start and it would not have happened without public pressure, but we still have a fight on our hands to make our tax system fair and ensure we have adequate resources to fund the public services we need.
Thanks to a major public outcry over years of budget cuts, the last-minute budget agreement turned out far better than what many expected to come out of Olympia this year. It protects education funding at current levels and maintains critical programs like State Food Assistance and Disability Lifeline that support the most vulnerable people in our communities.
The budget also includes a jobs package that will fund some major public works projects and build thousands of new units of affordable housing. These are major successes, and have no doubt: they would not have come without persistent public pressure. But like the closing of the big bank tax loophole, it’s not enough.
The state budget that just passed does not reverse the billions of cuts to housing, healthcare, and education that have been made over the past few years. And it doesn’t restore funding to other programs that are essential tools to fix our economy. The key reason is the lack of adequate revenue — and the main culprits are big corporations who spend millions on lobbying and creative accounting to avoid paying their fair share.
The issues are much the same at the Federal level. That’s why on Tax Day this year — April 17th — we are taking on Wells Fargo and Amazon for their tax dodging. Neither of these big, profitable, mega corporations is paying their fair share, and people continue to struggle while they rake in profit.
It’s going to be fun. First, the 99% will be taking a page out of the big bank’s playbook and foreclosing on Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo avoided over $20 billion dollars in taxes while still handing out bonuses to executives and foreclosing on homeowners. It’s time they tasted some of their own medicine.
Speaking of taste, we’ll also be having a pie eating contest at Amazon. We’re going to show them what a fair share actually looks like. Apparently no one taught them, since they only paid a 5.5% federal income tax rate in 2010. You probably paid more than that.
Join us on April 17th to call on big corporations and the top 1% to pay their fair share. If there’s one thing we can learn from closing the big bank tax loophole at last, it’s that we have been shown once again that collective, public pressure can get results. In fact, it is the only thing that does.