Corporate welfare on the rise — onward, kleptocracy
The tax reform bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives this month is full of corporate welfare measures like deductions for private jets. As reported on Democracy Now!:
“An analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows President Trump’s family and Trump’s Cabinet members would, combined, reap a $3.5 billion windfall from the proposed repeal of the estate tax alone.”
The bill aims to fund tax breaks for those already wealthy enough to own a jet by removing the deductions for state and local taxes paid by the middle class, and treating the financial aid that college students receive as taxable income. This is far from a complete list of the horrors contained in the bill. You can contact your senators to object if you have not already done so.
On top of that came news that the Maine legislature is being pressured take up a bill to provide tax relief to weapons manufacturer General Dynamics.
It will have to be introduced as a bill in the session that begins in January, and whether or not it proceeds to a vote depends largely on the Legislative Council at this point.
In our descent into kleptocracy, I will not go quietly.
Below is my letter to the Legislative Council objecting to any such bill and explaining my reasons. Feel free to send one of your own. I’ve pasted in the email addresses of the council members at the end of this post, or find them here.
Dear Legislative Council members,
Bath Iron Works owner General Dynamics is applying to the State of Maine for a big tax break. It claims it cannot remain competitive in the warship building industry without Maine taxpayers excusing BIW from paying its share of taxes.
But for the last three years, General Dynamics spent $9.4 billion buying its own stocks back.* This enables it to give enormous salaries and bonuses to its top executives. CEO Phebe Novakovic made $21 million last year. But, she claims General Dynamics can’t afford to contribute its fair share of state taxes.
Our roads and bridges in Maine are crumbling while our elders and children are worried about where their next meal is coming from. But we are asked to give even more to General Dynamics executives because of the jobs needed at BIW.
Jobs are needed in Maine, it’s true. Conversion to building something besides warships would generate thousands more jobs.** But giving General Dynamics/BIW a break on state taxes will go right into the pockets of their already wealthy executives and shareholders. General Dynamics does not need another tax break.
References:*Stock buybacks by General Dynamicshttp://www.providencejournal.com/news/20171103/defense-firms-spend-big-on-lucrative-stock-buybacks
**Jobs generated by investment in building weapons vs. building other things
Sent November 21, 2017 to:Sara.Gideon@legislature.maine.gov,