Time to say goodbye to corporate tax breaks
February 2, 2012
The Roanoke Times reports, despite bipartisan support for eliminating many of Virginia's unnecessary tax breaks, "Legislators have attempted to eliminate or reduce tax breaks in the past only to be rolled by an army of corporate and special interest lobbyists whose clients reap handsome financial benefits from the status quo. Every year, the army defending that status quo grows as legislators add more preferences."
Progressive Point: Virginia families are working harder than ever and our middle class continues to shrink. But instead of focusing on helping Virginia's working families, our legislators are protecting pet tax loopholes and giveaways that amount to over $12 billion a year. Representatives talk a good game about reforming loopholes and making our tax code more fair, but when the rubber meets the road, they're still protecting corporate tax breaks. Getting rid of corporate tax giveaways is a matter of fairness, and it's time that everyone pays their fair share.
Over 60% of Virginia corporations pay no income tax here, unlike Virginia's working families. Our legislators on both sides of the aisle agree that there needs to be more accountability in our tax system and they must remain committed to creating a level playing field. It's time Virginia's elected officials prioritized their constituents over corporate campaign donors and put an end to the big business tax breaks.
Get the Facts:
- Virginia lost $12.5 billion in revenue in 2008 through 187 different tax credits and giveaways that receive little-to-no scrutiny and accountability. (JLARC) This included coal companies receiving $31 million in tax breaks designed to slow layoffs in the industry. Instead, unemployment increased even more quickly than anticipated.
- "The report showed that only 20 of those [tax credits and giveaways] include reporting and evaluation of their cost and effectiveness, while 131 receive no regular oversight." (Richmond Times Dispatch, January 25, 2012)
- Better Choices for Virginia's recently released agenda highlighted four loopholes specifically:
- HB1030: The variety of accounting gimmicks that allowed 64% of Virginia corporations to have no tax liability
- HB1267: A loophole in our tax code that allows corporations to ship profits out of state to avoid taxes
- SB597: The "Amazon Loophole" that gives big online retailers an unfair advantage over Virginia brick-and-mortar businesses
- HB145: A tax break for people who buy yachts