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Countdown to Tax Day: Day 12, Who Pays?

HAPPENING THIS MORNING: U.S. Senator CARL LEVIN will headline a national media conference call TODAY, APRIL 4, at 11 a.m. ET with consumer and small business leaders as U.S. PIRG releases a new report highlighting the cost of corporate tax dodging to U.S. taxpayers and small businesses.

“Many of America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands, where they pay little to no taxes. We believe that’s not right and this report will be a tool to keep up the pressure on Congress,” said Dan Smith, Tax and Budget Advocate and report co-author, U.S. PIRG. / Dial-in April 4: 1.800.868.1837 / Code: 181478#

BREAKING — RESPONDING TO THE CHAMBER: “The Chamber of Commerce is spending big bucks on behalf of major corporations to stop momentum demanding an end to tax loopholes that benefit companies like General Electric at the expense of the middle class. We have a robust field program and we’ll be stepping it up as a counterweight to the business lobby on Capitol Hill. One thing is clear: the American people, President Obama, and a majority of U.S. Senators are with us in supporting closing harmful tax loopholes that send U.S. profits and jobs overseas,” said Frank Clemente, campaign manager, Americans for Tax Fairness. http://politi.co/10vlrI1

TODAY’S “CORPORATE TAX DODGER OF THE DAY”: General Electric

–Americans for Tax Fairness, a national coalition representing more than 275 national and state groups co-chaired by the Center for American Progress, AFSCME and National People’s Action, is stepping up pressure on Congress to close tax loopholes to make big corporations and the richest 2 percent pay their fair share of taxes by exposing a “CORPORATE TAX DODGER OF THE DAY” leading into April 15 “Tax Day.”

–The third corporate tax dodger profiled is General Electric. The company received a federal income tax subsidy worth $28.9 from 2002 to 2012. If General Electric had paid up we could have for one year:

-Hired 521,491 teachers

-Provided 33,218,391 kids with immunizations

-Enrolled 3,810,654 kids in Head Start

-Provided Medicaid to 4,265,683 people

-Hired 619,334 first responders

AS BASEBALL SEASON KICKS OFF – DAILY BASEBALL CARD HITS TO PRESSURE CORPS: A “Corporate Tax Dodger Baseball Card” outlining why General Electric, and other companies to be profiled over the next two weeks, have been chosen as corporate tax dodgers is available at: AmericansForTaxFairness.org/Baseball or use the short link: http://bit.ly/YQYIaL

SUGGESTED TWEET AND SHORT LINK: Pls RT Tax Dodger of the Day: @generalelectric See what we could have today if #GE paid up http://bit.ly/YQYIaL #baseball @4TaxFairness

BY THE NUMBERS – NEARLY 9,000 ONLINE USERS JUMP ON BOARD: The Corporate Tax Dodger of the Day campaign has picked up momentum in the digital space with 8542 people liking or sharing campaign related posts. AFSCME and USACTION featured the baseball cards on their pages and via Twitter.

THE CONVERSATION ON TWITTER: #Baseball is BACK

–Fair Economy @UFE28m #Baseball is BACK & @4TaxFairness is in the spirit! Corporate #TaxDodgers trading cards: http://bit.ly/YQYIaL #timetopayup

–USAction @USAction1h Pls RT Tax Dodger of the Day: @FedEx See what we could have today if #FedEx paid up http://bit.ly/YQYIaL #baseball @4TaxFairness

–NPA @streetactionNPA4h Had ExxonMobil paid its #fairshare, we couldve provided Medicaid 2 915,129 ppl. @4TaxFairness http://bit.ly/14IRCJy pic.twitter.com/Trh5u4jfwQ

–Heather C. McGhee @hmcghee3h Tax Dodger of the Day: @FedEx See what we could have today if #FedEx paid up http://bit.ly/YQYIaL #baseball @4TaxFairness

JUST THE FACTS: The top facts to know about GE:

–GE made $88 billion over the last 11 years but used corporate tax loopholes and offshore tax havens (where it has stashed $108 billion) to reduce its federal income tax rate to just 2.4%. GE received a tax subsidy of nearly $29 billion over the 11 years.

–In four of those years, GE reported more than $22 billion in U.S. profits, yet paid no federal income taxes and received $4.8 billion in tax rebates.

–While dodging paying its fair share of federal income taxes, GE pocketed $21.8 billion in taxpayerfunded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

–GE’s CEO plays a leading role in coalitions that want to cut corporate taxes, cut Social Security, and raise the retirement age from 67 to 70. His $59 million GE retirement account is enough to provide him with a $336,007 retirement check each month.

–GE has eliminated more than 15,000 American jobs since 2004, while adding 30,000 jobs overseas during that time. READ MORE: http://bit.ly/YQYIaL

THANKING SENATOR MCCAIN (via Arizona PIRG): An op-ed hitting in the The Sierra Vista Herald, Public Interest Research Group said thank you to U.S. Senator John McCain for co-sponsoring an amendment with U.S. Senator Carl Levin to crack down on offshore tax haven abuse.

–“These corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated accounting tricks to take advantage of loopholes in the tax code, moving their U.S. income to shell companies in tax havens like the Cayman Islands. They pay little or no taxes on those profits, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab. Each year, the federal treasury loses an estimated $150 billion in revenue to offshore tax havens.” LINK: http://bit.ly/17bjoNZ

LOOKING AHEAD: The AFL-CIO will launch its annual Paywatch report and website highlighting excessive CEO pay at S&P 500 companies on April 15. This year’s site will take a special look at CEOs from the corporate backed “Fix the Debt” group which has worked to protect tax loopholes for corporations and the richest 1 percent. Early reports show that CEOs who are working to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while protecting tax loopholes are receiving record high salaries and cushy retirement packages. LINK: www.PayWatch.org

RESOURCE FOR YOU (via CTJ): “Who Pays Taxes in America in 2013? Despite claims that the rich pay too much in taxes and that the poor pay little or nothing, the share of total federal, state and local taxes paid by Americans in each income group is very similar to the share of total income received by that group.” http://bit.ly/10n3goL

HUFF POST OP-ED: Here Are The Effective Tax Rates Of 17 Companies Pressuring Congress To Cut Corporate Tax Rates LINK: http://bit.ly/10vndsj (h/t: CTJ)

SAN FRAN CHRONICLE OP-ED: Road to tax havens is paved with potholes, by Dietlind Lerner (h/t: Nicole Tichon)

–“Despite the obvious damage to society, shifting profits offshore is, in most cases, perfectly legal. In fact, tax haven use by big companies is so common that a 2008 Government Accountability Office Report found 83 of the Fortune 100 companies in the United States had subsidiaries in offshore tax havens.” LINK: http://bit.ly/10wnM3E

WHY KEEP UP THE PRESSURE: “President Obama and leaders in Congress from both parties have said that we can close tax loopholes and save hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Frank Clemente, campaign manager, Americans for Tax Fairness. “As a future budget deal gets considered we need to be sure that corporate tax loopholes get closed and that the revenue is used to reduce the deficit and make new investments, not to lower corporate tax rates. That means closing tax loopholes for corporations that ship U.S. profits and jobs overseas.”

FIELD MOBILIZATION: Between now and Tax Day, the Americans for Tax Fairness coalition will mobilize events in over two dozen states under the brand “WHO PAYS” that show how tax breaks for the rich and loopholes for corporations increase burdens on families and states by forcing cuts in important benefits, services and programs we all rely upon. Events will include pressers outside of U.S. Post Offices, community members playing local dodge ball games to highlight tax dodging, media avails outside state Capitols, and events outside U.S. Congressional offices.

COMING SOON: A full list of all events happening in the field.

BRINGING IT TOGETHER: “It’s time to protect families and communities. Congress must stop tax dodging by closing tax loopholes and ending special breaks for the rich and big corporations. That way, everyone, including CEOs and corporations, will pay their fair share of taxes,” said Margarida Jorge, national field director, Americans for Tax Fairness.

WHY FOCUS ON CORPORATIONS? Millions of working families pay more in taxes some years, or pay a much higher income tax rate, than some of the biggest and most profitable corporations in America pay, including ExxonMobil, General Electric, FedEx, Verizon, Wells Fargo and more. That’s wrong. They haven’t been asked to contribute a dime.

ULTIMATE GOALS OF NATIONAL CAMPAIGN LEADING INTO TAX DAY:

1) Require big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, including by stopping companies from shipping jobs and stashing profits overseas to avoid U.S. taxes.

2) End across-the-board “sequester” cuts to the jobs and services we count on.

3) Protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security from harmful cuts.

PRESSING THE PRESIDENT: President Obama will release his budget on APRIL 10. The ATF coalition has long pressed for revenue-positive corporate tax reform, yet every signal from the White House is that his plan will propose closing corporate tax loopholes but be revenue-neutral.

WATCHING THE RATES: “Closing tax loopholes is important but what’s not helpful is taking that money and giving it right back to corporations through lower tax rates. The middle class will be stuck with the tab either through higher taxes or massive service cuts,” said Frank Clemente, campaign manager, Americans for Tax Fairness.

FOLLOW VIA TWITTER: @4TaxFairness

FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/Americans4TaxFairness

MEDIA CONTACT: Trevor Thomas, Americans for Tax Fairness; 616-430-2030