Issued April 14, 2022
As working people across the country stage actions to protest widespread corporate tax avoidance, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released today showed that more than 60 percent of corporations have paid $0 in state corporate income taxes.
The report, titled “Reclaiming Corporate Tax Revenues,” includes never-before-seen data revealing how corporations in multiple states managed to entirely avoid paying what they owe in state corporate tax, shifting the burden to working people to pay for essential services like educating children, maintaining roads and bridges, ensuring public health and safety and providing clean water.
“If corporations paid their fair share, we can take care of our communities more,” said Tosha Rushton-Kelly, SEIU HCII member and child care worker. “Wealthy corporations have gotten away with not paying taxes for a long time. It’s not fair that I’m paying my taxes but they aren’t paying any. I know these big corporations can afford to pay what they owe.”
While millions of families have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, and are now facing soaring inflation, corporations made record profits in 2021. Yet more than 60 percent of these corporations are paying absolutely nothing in corporate income taxes in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. That includes corporations with over $1 billion in federal taxable income.
This revenue crisis did not happen by accident. Corporations have spent decades pushing policies that enrich themselves by refusing to pay what they owe in taxes. As a result, the EPI report found that the effective corporate tax rate in states has fallen by nearly 50% since 1989, causing a nationwide revenue shortfall in states of between $40 billion and $57 billion.
"It’s absolutely unconscionable that while the two million members of SEIU who clean buildings, care for the elderly and provide essential public services pay their taxes every year, billionaires and their corporations are getting a free ride,” said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President. “Our upside-down tax system asks the most from Americans with the least resources and it makes absolutely no sense. To have a government that works for all of us, we need a tax system that requires corporations and the wealthy to pay their due -- period."
This scale of revenue loss has real world consequences for essential services that working people and their families depend on. For example, state and local governments could fully fund universal high-quality pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds with $57 billion.
SEIU members and community members are holding actions in Florida, Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin to highlight the high cost to families, jobs and essential services when corporations don’t pay what they owe. Union and community members are also calling on state legislators to establish greater corporate tax transparency and release the names of companies that fail to pay their taxes.
Details on individual actions are as follows:
On 4/9 in Denver, Colorado, SEIU and community members joined an action against HCA Healthcare. They were joined by Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young.
On 4/14, in Chicago, Illinois, child care providers and their community partners at Grassroots Collaborative protested outside of Amazon.
On 4/18, in Florida, the People’s Budget Campaign will hold a press conference in Miami protesting the DeSantis Administration for giving $624 million in additional tax breaks to companies like Florida Power & Light, which not only benefit from corporate-controlled government but also fund candidates who are against working family interests.
On 4/18, in Hartford, Connecticut, the Recovery for All campaign will hold a press conference at the State Capitol asking Governor Lamont to do the right thing and put Connecticut working families first.
On 4/18, in Nashville and Memphis Tennessee, the Tennessee for All coalition will play a game of corporate tax dodgeball in Nashville, and will be outside the Chamber of Commerce in Memphis, demanding that corporations pay what they owe.
On 4/18, in Wisconsin, labor and community activists are doing a noon action in Milwaukee outside the headquarters of Foxconn.
On 4/18, in Portland, Maine, workers and community are taking the rich head-on for tax fairness by coming together at Lincoln Park for a game of Tax Dodgerball and a regional press conference.
On 4/18, in NY, the Strong Economy for All coalition will take their fight to Wall Street to demand corporations pay what they owe to invest in communities.
On 4/18, in Philadelphia, the Tax the Rich PHL campaign is taking action at Comcast headquarters in Philly, to demand Comcast CEO Brian Roberts pay what they owe in taxes to fund schools, recreation centers, libraries and more for the public good.