Paul Buccheit has written an important article about how big corporations are taking funding away from public schools by not paying their fair share of corporate taxes.


Many of the largest U.S. corporations aren’t paying the state taxes that should be funding our schools. Kids are the victims. So are the average Americans who are forced to pay higher property taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes to meet educational budgets. Government and media sources would have us believe there’s no alternative, for in a market-driven world it’s heresy to make demands of big business, even when the companies are flagrantly avoiding their taxes.


Illinois: Schools Held Hostage by Just Six Corporate Tax Avoiders


The mayor and governor of Illinois are blaming each other for the Chicago Public School budget crisis, and Illinois colleges are in danger of being shut down. But Illinois lost over $1.3 billion (more than the $1.1 billion school budget shortfall) in 2015 state tax revenue to just six companies (Abbott, ADM, Boeing, Deere, Exelon, United), which together paid much less than 1% of their profits in state taxes, just pennies on the dollar for the required rate of 7.75%.


Yet it’s the children and the taxpayers of Illinois who bear the burden of reform. Illinois has one of the “Ten Most Regressive State Tax Systems,” according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. In Chicago, Mayor Emanuel recently announced another $200 million in education cuts and then raised property taxes by a half-billion dollars, but the mainstream media repeatedly hushes up the corporate tax avoidance.


California: Funding Goes to Charters as Corporations Take Tax Refunds


In California, where depleted public schools are giving way to business-happy ‘reformers’ and charter schools, Google took a $400 million refund on its $8 billion in U.S. profits. Chevron has over half of its oil and gas wells in the United States, yet the company claimed a loss of nearly $3 billion in the U.S., a foreign profit of $7.7 billion, and a refund on all its U.S. taxes. Intel managed to pay 1/2 of one percent in state taxes, on nearly $9 billion in U.S. profits…..


Buchheit shows how similar tax avoidance is occurring on the East Coast and elsewhere.


Big business might claim that their minimal taxes are a result of agreements made with states to promote economic growth and create jobs. But the facts come from Good Jobs First and the New York Times, reporting on 2011-12 data:


* Federal, state, and local governments give up $170 billion per year in tax incentives.


* States were forced to cut public services and raise taxes by a collective $156 billion in 2011.


* The subsidy cost per job averaged $456,000 for 170 ‘megadeals’ analyzed by Good Jobs First.


It’s a devious double whammy: Taxpayers are giving money to the corporations and then paying a second time to meet the needs of the underfunded public schools. Corporate annual reports never mention the need to support the U.S. educational system that helped make their companies prosperous.