Stopping the Corporate Tax Rip Off

Montana State Senator Jim Elliott (D) has a new op-ed in this week’s Queen City News in which he shows how multinational companies rip off small states. “In 2002, 40 percent of the largest 500 companies doing businesses in Montana paid less than $500 in Montana corporate income taxes,” Elliott notes. “Sixty-five of those companies paid less than $500 for four years running.”

As Chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee, Elliott made a formal request for income tax data for the 500 companies ranked by the amounts of their Montana sales. And though he is still fighting a court battle to make the companies’ names public, he managed to get a list of revenues-to-taxes paid that shows how much of a problem tax evasion has become.

Make no mistake about it – this is a national problem. The General Accounting Office estimates that the federal government lost up to $85 billion over the past decade to improper tax shelters. And the Multistate Tax Commission estimates the states lost $12 billion in corporate taxes in 2001 alone.

That’s why American Progress’s new tax reform plan closes corporate tax loopholes. While President Bush and the right-wing may want to avoid a discussion of how corporations rip off America, any serious tax plan must deal with this growing problem.