As Baltimoreans rushed to the city’s main post office to file their taxes by the April 17 deadline, taxpayers across the street at Shot Tower Park gathered for a rally calling on tax dodgers to pay their fair share.
The protest, one of hundreds happening around the country today, highlighted the fact that some of the most profitable U.S. corporations are exploiting loopholes to evade paying billions in taxes. Participants, wearing stickers with the message, “I paid my fair share, the 1% should too,” spoke out against a backdrop of visuals representing vital public services facing deep budget cuts like schools, libraries and infrastructure projects.
Recent reports from Citizens for Tax Justice show that 26 of the most profitable U.S. corporations, including Wells Fargo, Exelon, and GE, have paid negative federal income tax rates between 2008 and 2011. Had they paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate over this period, they would have paid at least $78 billion in taxes—funds that would have been available for vital public services.
Maryland residents don’t have to look far to see the consequences of corporate tax dodging. Our state’s recently enacted “doomsday” budget raises the specter of the loss of millions in funding for already woefully underfunded public services. In education, the cuts could mean a loss in per-pupil funding of over $11 million, a devastating blow to Baltimore’s city school system, where over 70 percent of our schools are already rated in “poor condition.”
Organizers of the protest are demanding that Congress support the Buffett Rule (H.R. 3909, S.2230) and that they also take action to close tax loopholes that let corporations pay lower tax rates than regular working people.