Atlanta – Local leaders and activists gathered at Coca-Cola headquarters this week to call out Coca-Cola for not paying its fair share of taxes and to demand that Representative Woodall and other House Republicans who represent metro Atlanta vote for a budget deal that will end tax loopholes for corporations, rather than cutting investment in the economy here in the metropolitan Atlanta area. With Congress approaching yet another fiscal cliff on March 1st, Georgia Fair Share and other members of the Middle Class Georgians coalition described what they call an “economic heartbreak.”
Specifically, they highlighted local economic problems—high unemployment, an under-developed transportation system, and reduced funding for public education—and contrasted it to the fact that corporations continue to get out of paying their fair share in taxes by shipping profits and jobs overseas.
“At a time when our economy is struggling, we all need to do our part, including corporations. In recent years, highly profitable corporations like Coca-Cola have not been paying their fair share of taxes. So, the question today is, why are Rep. Woodall and other House Republicans who represent this area continuing to give tax deals to big corporations, when metro Atlanta needs their support” said Jason Pfeifle, the organizer with Georgia Fair Share.
Currently, large tax loopholes for corporations are costing both federal and state governments billions of dollars. Recent research shows that the federal government loses around $90 billion and state governments about $40 billion, because of corporations’ use of foreign tax havens to hide profits abroad and avoid taxation. For example, Coca-Cola kept $23.5 billion of their profits in offshore accounts in 2011. With Congress trying to reach a compromise between Republicans and Democrats that will reduce the deficit and still pay for national priorities, these loopholes could make up a significant portion of the final package.
“In Georgia, we are losing $569 million per year in state tax revenue because of corporate tax loopholes. With this money, we could pay for the salaries of 10,900 new teachers in our state. This would not only help us reduce class sizes in public schools but also add thousands of jobs to our local economy” said State Senator Curt Thompson.
“As Georgians are dealing with the effects of previous austerity measures (declining roads and bridges, lack of resources for our children's schools, and cuts to the social safety net), I can't imagine inflicting more pain on the middle class without putting raising revenue through closing corporate tax loopholes on the table. It's time we stop allowing small businesses and taxpayers to subsidize multinational corporations and place fairness into the tax code," said Stacey Hopkins, organizer with Move-On Atlanta.
“As a single mother and small business owner, I am deeply concerned about the sluggish economy recovery and the impact it is having on the younger generation. We need to act now to ensure that our children will have the same job opportunities and access to education that we had” said Hope Adams, a resident of Gwinnett County.
Across-the-board cuts, called the sequester, are set for March 1st, a prospect that is scaring economists and local leaders alike. The sequester, it is estimated, will have numerous impacts:
- A loss of one million jobs;
- 70,000 children dropped from Head Start;
- 10,000 teachers’ jobs at risk; and,
- Small business loans reduced by $540 million.
“The hundreds of citizens and local leaders that have joined our campaign are putting Rep. Woodall on notice: stop giving corporations a free ride while the rest of us pay the fare. By closing massive corporate tax loopholes, Rep. Woodall can deliver a stronger economy and a stronger budget in 2013,” said Jason Pfeifle.