Why do Two-Thirds of Corporations Fail to Pay State Taxes?

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“We pay our taxes. As a matter of fact, we feel proud when we pay them. When our families and businesses pay their taxes and when members of our churches and unions pay them, we view it as an investment in the schools that educate our children and train our employees, the roads on which we transport our goods, and the programs that serve the people in our communities who are sick, poor, or hungry. We believe, in short, that we have a moral obligation to invest in the common good of our local communities and of our state.

Two-thirds of the corporations operating within our state’s borders, however, pay no corporate income tax at all to the State of Illinois. These corporations aren’t paying taxes at a time when our state is so broke that it is imposing drastic cuts on education, health care and transportation. At a time when we’re cutting the pensions state employees earned over years on the job. They aren’t paying taxes at a time when we’re so broke that the state is delaying payments to social service agencies months at a time and talking about further cuts to the programs people in our communities depend on.

What is even more frustrating is that we don’t know which corporations aren’t paying their taxes and why. Without that information, it’s difficult to know whether they aren’t paying taxes as a result of legitimate deductions — that is to say, deductions that ultimately benefit our state — or simply because they’re tax-dodgers who are shirking their duties by gaming the system.”

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(Chicago Sun-Times, Sept 26th, 2013; co-authored with: David Borris, David Hatch, and Marilyn Pagan-Banks)

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