www.reuters.com - April 23, 11:39 PM
by DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, Reuters
Across the United States more than 2,700 companies are collecting state income taxes from hundreds of thousands of workers – and are keeping the money with the states’ approval, says an eye-opening report published on Thursday.
The report from Good Jobs First, a nonprofit taxpayer watchdog organization funded by Ford, Surdna and other major foundations, identifies 16 states that let companies divert some or all of the state income taxes deducted from workers’ paychecks. None of the states requires notifying the workers, whose withholdings are treated as taxes they paid.
General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and AMC Theatres enjoy deals to keep state taxes deducted from their workers’ paychecks, the report shows. Foreign companies also enjoy such arrangements, including Electrolux, Nissan, Toyota and a host of Canadian, Japanese and European banks, Good Jobs First says.
These deals typify corporate socialism, in which business gains are privatized and costs socialized. They also mean government picks winners and losers, interfering with competitive markets. Leaders in both parties embrace these giveaways because they draw campaign donations from corporate interests and votes from people who do not understand that they are subsidizing huge companies.
Total revenue losses are higher than the report states. First, some states hide the costs. Phil Mattera, the research director at Good Jobs First, said he lists the cost as zero for states that hide the numbers.
Good Jobs First wants to end these diversions, but failing that recommends mandatory disclosure to the workers as the first reform. I concur. It's the first step in ending corporate welfare as we know it.