Members of the 99 percent took to millionaire Chevron CEO John Watson’s home on Tuesday to protest tax loopholes for oil corporations and the extremely wealthy. Watson, who earned $1.48 million in 2010, has defended Chevron and the oil industry’s $4 billion subsidies.
About 30 people, many of them Richmond residents, braved the drizzly conditions to protest in front of the home of CEO John Watson, whom they criticized as an example of what they called the “corporate welfare” and undue influence of the richest Californians on the state’s tax code.
“People like Watson represent the 1 percent that have destroyed opportunities for the middle class,” said Andres Soto, a Richmond resident and one of the protesters.
The protest coincided with the release of a report titled “Meet California’s 1%: How Wall Street banks, big corporations and the super rich are killing the recovery,” which among other charges claims that the state’s wealthy elite has eluded paying its fair share of taxes. The protest was organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), a nonprofit community organization.
Watson has publicly defended Chevron’s tax rate, claiming “We’re the highest taxed industry that I’m aware of.” But accounting for tax havens and loopholes, Chevron paid just 19 percent in federal taxes last year. Chevron stands to report even higher profits this quarter, benefiting from rising gas prices. Meanwhile, millionaires like Watson benefit from tax loopholes, which President Barack Obama’s “Buffett rule” would close.