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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Business Complains About Sales Tax While Hiding Income In Havens

Category: Taxes
Posted: 02/08/13 16:29

by Dave Mindeman

Business has been trying to take down Governor Dayton's proposal on sales tax expansion. They warn us that this will cost the state enormous loss of business confidence.

Our good corporate citizens are just giving us the facts.

Then you see this....

Minnesota loses nearly $2 billion a year in tax revenue due to some of the state?s major corporations and wealthy individuals moving their earnings to tax havens, a new report found.
Tax havens are countries or jurisdictions that have very low or nonexistent taxes; that group includes Switzerland, Belize, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands.
The report, titled ?The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens? and compiled by Boston-based advocacy group U.S. PIRG Education Fund, found that the state?s $1.95 billion yearly loss in tax revenue is the sixth-largest among all states. California, with yearly tax losses estimated at $7.1 billion, topped the list, followed by New York ($4.3 billion), New Jersey ($2.8 billion), Illinois ($2.5 billion), and Pennsylvania ($2.1 billion).

Minnesota loses nearly as much as Pennsylvania and Illinois. States with much larger populations.

There is a touch of irony in that Dayton's proposal would increase revenues by about $2 billion and our corporate brethren are sticking it to the rest of us for about that same amount.

And then they complain about how "unfair" it is to them.

Oh, please.

Tell you what, oh great corporate gods. We'll make a trade. You pay the taxes you have been stealing from the state every year and we will adjust the sales tax on business to business transactions.

Think they would do that? Not a chance.

They would rather keep the stolen money and whine about the rest of it.

Why do we listen to them exactly?
comments (11) permalink
02/10/13 18:31
Done! My name is on that petition. And I went one step further and encouraged my friends and clients to follow my lead in a private email.

The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence reads:

"...that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the PEOPLE to alter or to abolish it..."

Citizen's United ruling can only be viewed as destructive. And while we are at it, we should impose a second alteration.

Congress shall make no law and exclude themselves from its onerous effects.
02/10/13 14:34
Ford.... go to movetoamend.org This is a Constitutional amendment movement to get big money out of politics. It eliminates corporate money and union money and would force a complete rewrite of campaign finance law. Rep. Rick Nolan is sponsoring it in the House.
02/09/13 19:26
The constitution, not that it matters any more, clearly excludes churches from influencing the body politic.

I love it! It was a brilliant initiative! Why surrender right-and-wrong to a group that proxies their influence to an oligarchy? The Founders embraced it because they understood that not all "faiths" are benevolent advocates of peace, safety, and the common good.

So why do we allow corporate boards to participate. Why are there PACs? Why do we subsidize charities whose sole purpose is to channel public opinion?

With apology to Milton Friedman. Where are you going to find the angels worthy of such power to decide right and wrong?
02/09/13 19:09
Anything that counters Citizen's United I would have to see the wording of the initiative, but I will support any measure that reduces, preferably eliminates, any influence that does not originate with individuals. Period. And those individuals must be accountable for their advocacy--100% traceable back to a responsible party. No more anonymous.

Support it? I'll carry the petition for signatures door-to-door myself.

Where you and I will start peeing all over each other is when I insist on the prohibitions being applicable to trade unions, foreign sources, as well as corporations. No voter should be allowed to proxy their vote or their influence to another. It's that simple. "We the people" does not include "We the collectives."

As far as corporations being natural progression of the free markets... With tongue in cheek I can say that Communism and Free Market Capitalism share a common trait. Communism nationalizes wealth using power and unbridled hubris. Capitalism eventually consolidates into monopoly-like entities using the retention of capital to expand and displace personal wealth ad-infinitum. The wealth accumulation of the individual ends at their death--with estate scattered to the benefactors but divided none-the-less.

The power, whether political (communism) or the unbridled accumulation of wealth (free markets) that comes with ownership ends in the same result--oligarchy. In the case of communism, the effects are immediate and swift. History describes the blood-bath over-and-over. Free Market Capitalism appears to be more like death by a thousand cuts. Merge, purchase, accumulate, repeat for generations.

People pick on Walmart because they succeeded in using every available free market principle at its disposal to accumulate the wealth and power they now exhibit. Consider all the individual wealth that was displaced in the process. It's tragic, but not a crime. If they don't want to provide health care for their workers, damn the government they are not going to incur the expense because the oligarchy (loyal only to shareholders) that runs the place says so. Cut hours from 32 to 20, or 10, or 7. They don't care because the hordes stand in line ready and willing to do many of those jobs. The compounding effect of retaining a small amount of equity and using that accumulation to expand into a larger and larger footprint has forever changed the retail landscape. The individual is helpless to compete. It's corporate communism.

Are we better off with the collective approach? Or with individualism? This is the real debate. Cut the debate to its essence. Are we better off in a world where individuals compete fiercely for market share and thrive in the process? Or simply surrender to the notion that you are going to make your $12.50/hour and accumulate nothing.

I'd call the later economic hell... Say hello to the new normal.
02/09/13 12:39
Hey Ford. Aren't corporations the natural evolution of fee market capitalism? Weren't we destined to get this? It was either corporations or monopolies...two bad choices. But I agree that Citizens United is a scourge and there is a two pronged reaction. One, legislation is being devised which will put limits on corps while still meeting CitUnited rulings and secondly, the beginnings of a Constitutional amendment is getting traction to move forward. Are you going to sign on to that?
02/08/13 21:33
"...talk to each other and not at each other."


Then we need to talk about solutions. Not window dressings to bolster one party and damn another. Solutions! Not feel good measures that promote the latest social agenda. Solutions that work for everybody!

America has no stomach for solutions:

To our financial troubles, the real 'problem' is not that corporations don't pay enough tax, or that they pay too much. The problem is that they exist. This debate was raging in the 3rd decade of the last century. Corporations won. Collectivism won. There were those that believed there is no natural balancing principle to curb the unrestrained reinvestment of capital and perpetual existence. Only people (who eventually die) owning assets can be held accountable for their actions. Boards using the sole guiding principle of greater ROI on an endless accumulation of prior earnings will eventually own everything. After almost a century, the results are in. Too big to fail retail (Walmart), too big to fail banks, too big to sustain (big Ag), too big to restrain (military-industrial), and too big to understand (government) rules the day. Big is more efficient. Damn efficiency and give us our lives back. They dominate our finances, our politics, our futures, our lives. Tell me how Progressives intend to fix this.

Health care. The problem with healthcare is not that it is too expensive, it is that we have chosen to pay for it with insurance. The way we have structured insurance is the problem. The patient is no longer the customer. The patient's insurance company is driving the train. Americans need to understand that insurance Co profits are a direct result of paying ever higher claims. Premiums are always claims +15%. More claims, more 15% profit. Who do we put in charge of regulating claims? The insurance companies who profit from the both true and the excessive claims.

Citizen's United has all but destroyed our politics. America is for sale to the highest bidder. What's the fix Dave? How do Progressives intend to tweak the rules now? This observer believes the only way to restore the political process is to impose term limits, eliminate the ability for corporate boards to influence our processes, and restore state's rights to the states.

$5 will get you $10 there will be no response to this posting.
02/08/13 19:55
C'mon Ford. You are always scolding everybody for hyperbolic rhetoric. What would you call your last comment? Sheesh. I hate to tell you Ford, but companies do come and go...even big companies. Taxes are a miniscule part of the market's evolving nature. There was talk awhile ago that a nickel tax on every transaction at the NYSE could eliminate the debt in just a few years. And when guys like Jamie Dimon don't even blink at a $2 billion loss, why should a tax like that even register. Nationalization? Collectives? Guns???? Where do you get these ideas. Please don't tell me you have a bunker to hide in like that Alabama guy.... There are rational gun laws. There are rational tax laws. At some point we have to turn off the hyperbole and talk to each other and not at each other.
02/08/13 18:56
Dave wrote: "Since they think hiding money is acceptable behavior, maybe we should acquire capital on the markets directly."

That's pretty bold Dave. It's call nationalization. That's what communists do when they confiscate property and put it in the hands of the "Collective." Of course, those things never happen without blood being spilled.

Perhaps we are now seeing the "real" Progressive agenda behind gun control. What better way to facilitate the eventual confiscation than to disarm the current owner and render them helpless against the real source of evil--that being the Progressive legislator.
02/08/13 18:50
Quote from the link provided:

"Minnesota?s five largest public companies based on revenue?3M, Best Buy, Supervalu, Target, and UnitedHealth Group?collectively had 46 subsidiaries located in tax havens as of 2008, according to the report. And 83 of the 100 largest public companies in the country had subsidiaries located in tax havens as of 2008, PIRG found."

I find the list interesting. They even go so far as to suggest taxing worldwide income. That's the unitary method MN adopted by Rudy Perpich. Really? The top 5 company MN taxpayers back then were:

3M, Honeywell, Northwest Airlines, General Mills, Norwest. Now only 3M makes the list. Why? Divestiture! It's that simple. Those are the 5 companies that paid 100% of Jesse Ventura's tax rebate. You remember that? We got a check. That check was due to the tax paid when they divested from facilities (property) housing Payroll.

Rants even suggesting anybody did anything wrong is simply falicious thinking. Once again we see Progressive projecting lies to support their evil agenda.

I chose the word "evil" very carefully. There can be no other moniker hung around the necks of Progressives.

02/08/13 18:44
Since these wonderful corporations feel no compulsion to participate in funding American infrastructure and education, then why should we feel any need to accomodate their needs. Since they think hiding money is acceptable behavior, maybe we should acquire capital on the markets directly. Tax every share traded on the exchanges...every option, every put. If their profits come from tax paying Americans, then money transfers of those funds out of the country should be surcharged as well. These "havens" were created by lawyers and lobbyists. The rest of us fund the benefits they derive from doing business in this country. Shameful.
02/08/13 18:34
Each company has a legal obligation to its shareholders to properly manage the company capital. You make this sound sinister in some way. GE, for example, pays almost no US tax. Why? They are gone! They have left the country. Public policy has conspired with markets to basically make elsewhere more attractive.

Are you counting what they used to pay here in part of the money we no longer collect? Dave, they are gone. Not coming back any time soon. Just try and propose a law that prevents it. The standard items of nexus (property, payroll, and sales) have been purged from the balance sheet to eliminate any opportunity for Progressives to confiscate it.

Gone Dave. They are gone. So called loop holes are not sinister. Lockheed has left the state. Gone! Delta has pulled their operations. Gone! Banking has all but gone, leaving nothing but pretty tellers to smile and thank you when they take your money and invest it elsewhere. Gone!

How is "managed society" working for you Dave? The Progressives have chased them away. Progressive ideas and those that promote them are beating those that remain with a stick until they do leave.

It's a shame too. They are not coming back. Wait until the DFL gives Dayton his Business to Business tax policy. Who is going to hire the rest of us when all the smart money goes elsewhere?

It makes me want to weep.


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