Target: Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney
Goal: Demand an end to loopholes allowing profitable corporations in Oregon to avoid paying any state taxes, and mandate full public disclosure of all corporate tax records
When average Oregonians pay state income taxes they are helping support vital health care and education services. They may not realize, however, that they are also paying far more in taxes than some of the state’s most profitable corporations–companies like Con-way, a leader in freight shipment. In 2009 Con-way appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court to apply a credit to its tax liability in order to avoid paying any state taxes whatsoever. This precedent has since been used by at least two dozen companies, reports Street Roots, including Facebook which opened a massive data center in the city of Prineville.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), together with Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), calculated that while Facebook saw profits of roughly $2.9 billion between 2011-12 it failed to pay a cent in state taxes to Oregon during that same period. Intel showed combined profits of some $9.4 billion in the tax years 2008 and 2009; yet rather than pay into the tax system Intel was gifted a $40 million refund.
Even before the “Con-way loophole” Oregon’s minimum corporate tax rate was historically quite low, a mere $10. Voters passed a measure in 2010 which increased this minimum tax to a sliding scale between $150 to $100,000. Many corporations continue to avoid making even meager contributions towards Oregonians’ wellbeing despite conducting business in the state. And to make matters worse, Oregon law does not require disclosure of corporate tax records.
This clear attempt to evade civic responsibility has gone far enough. Call on the President of the Oregon Senate to close the Con-way loophole. Demand that wealthy corporations pay their fair share, and publicly disclose what they pay.
Dear Senator Courtney,
Ever since the Oregon Supreme Court paved the way for corporations to avoid the state’s minimum tax with its 2009 decision in the Con-way case, Oregonians have suffered for it. Families, young singles attempting to establish their own homes, seniors struggling to survive working part-time to supplement social security: they all pay more in state income tax than do some of Oregon’s most profitable companies.
How can a company like Facebook, which in two years raked in nearly $3 billion in profits while conducting business in your state, pay no state taxes during this same period? The so-called “Con-way loophole” has allowed companies to profit from the business environment in Oregon while shirking their duty to give back in return. Please, urge passage of legislation to ensure all corporations pay the new minimum tax rate as decided by voters in 2010, and demand full public disclosure of all corporate tax records.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia Commons