States have been racing to the bottom to try to attract corporations to their state, and as a result businesses are paying fewer taxes in states during a time of record corporate profits. On average, the state corporate tax rate is 6.25%, but these profitable companies paid just 2.9% of their profits. From 1986 to 2013, state and local corporate tax rates declined 30%, the report says. And yet states continue to compete with one another to offer tax giveaways to corporations.
The report looks into 17 companies headquartered in Illinois and finds that some of the biggest companies are paying very little. Take Boeing, which has earned over $40 billion in profits during the period studied—and only paid 0.1% of that to Illinois. This comes at a time that some of the most vulnerable in the state—people with disabilities, the homelessness, opioid addicts, rape victims, low-income seniors—are watching their safety net being slashed. (And in the meantime, Illinois homeowners are paying higher property rates than anyone except New Jersey homeowners.)
Mr. A and I are currently looking for a house, which leads to lots of people assuming we want to hear them bitching about their taxes and how awful it is to pay so much. My considered opinion is that I don’t mind paying taxes because in my ‘hood it’s very obvious what I get out of it: roads that get fixed, a park district-run preschool where Kick is thriving, cops who respond to complaints promptly, and services all over the place.
If I lived somewhere else, and was paying the same amounts in taxes, and the neighborhood looked like The Hurt Locker and the public schools were crap and the bus ran once a month between two places I never wanted to go, I might be more inclined to complain, but still, what I could contribute is a drop in the bucket compared to the corporate profits that SHOULD be fueling the state’s economy.
The bribery and up-sucking to companies to get them to come here and stay here drives me wild, too. Shower them with tax incentives, as Illinois once did to Sears and others, but if they don’t pay those taxes, is it really a benefit having them here at all? Creating jobs is very good, but adequately funding schools and municipalities creates a shitload of jobs and also a pretty nice life for any employees you might have.