Million-Dollar Profits, Ten-Dollar Tax Bill


The Oregon Center for Public Policy found new data showing that more than 5,000 profitable corporations operating in Oregon paid no more than $10 in corporate income tax for 2006. Among this group, 31 corporations each recorded profits of over $1 million.

OCPP policy analyst Michael Leachman emphasizes the need for the Oregon Department of Revenue to disclose the names of these corporations: “By shining light on the system, Oregonians can see which big, profitable companies are good corporate citizens and which are not.” We need to know, stresses Leachman, “Which ones are playing us for fools?”

When corporations get lower tax rates they are contributing less to the cost of public services, thereby shifting more of the burden onto individual taxpayers. The current share of income taxes collected from corporations operating in Oregon is projected to be around 6 percent during 2009 to 2011, compared to the 18.5 percent in the mid 1970’s.

Leachman notes that a larger number of corporations are paying more than the $10 minimum, but still less than the typical Oregon household. “The system has gone awry when a profitable corporation pays less in income taxes than a single mother working at a minimum wage job,” Leachman notes. “When corporations don’t pay their fair share, working families and small businesses are forced to pick up the slack”

Corporate tax dodging is occurring across the country and across industry sectors. The data from Oregon is part of a larger pattern of declining corporate contributions to the cost of public services. In his book, “The Great American Jobs Scam,” Greg LeRoy examines how this pattern developed over the last 25 years, particularly due to large corporations with the resources to aggressively pursue lower income tax rates. With widespread budget shortages and physical infrastructure in such dire need of maintenance and repair, we can not afford to let corporations dodge their share of the cost.

One Response to “Million-Dollar Profits, Ten-Dollar Tax Bill”

  1. Brent Pittman Says:

    No need for more taxpayer bailouts, economic stimulus spending or earmarks, if politicians would do the following: First, repeal all sales taxes and replace the lost revenue with an import tax/tariff on imported labor and manufactured goods. Second, repeal all local tax incentives that shift business costs to taxpayers and that create poverty wage jobs (click on and enter Brent Pittman in the search for details within letters);or change these incentives to pay a living wage, minimum wage of $14/hour (parent with one child). Third, re-regulate banks and financial corporations (Obama progressing). Fourth, enact a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies (Obama progressing); but, rebate this money through tax incentives for drilling and building refineries (including ethanol ones in other countries) as well as eliminating the $.54/gallon import tax on sugar cane ethanol. This strategy will slow these companies from using excess profits to enrich executives and to buy company stock. Fifth, increase taxes on fuel guzzling vehicles, wealthy individuals and corporations (eliminating corporate welfare and tax loopholes; Obama progressing) to pay for the Wall Street bailout, the Iraq war and to pump more oil in Iraq for export. These strategies will lower the $11 TRILLION ($14 TRILLION forecasted) taxpayer debt leading to a stronger dollar that will reduce inflation and increase the number of good paying jobs with benefits for American citizens.

    Brent Pittman Brownsburg, IN 317-852-4470 March 1, 2009

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