On April 17, 2012, Tax Day over 150 area residents stood up, marched and placed the blame for the U.S.’s economic suffering directly where it belonged. The action recognized the causes of our problems, which are:
- Tax Cuts, Tax Cheating by Corporations and Ultra-Rich Tax Dodgers;
- Financial Speculation and Policies Favoring only the 1% which caused the recession, and the last cause of an economy that works for the top and not the rest is;
- Excessive Military Spending, squandering our tax dollars on senseless destructive war instead of investing in our future, in jobs, alternative energy technologies, education…
The demonstration was sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, Occupy KC, Pay Up KCP&L (a coalition of labor and economic justice groups), Peace Planters and PeaceWorks KC. The event featured the delivery of overdue tax bills to some of the most blatant tax dodging corporations in Kansas City. The targeted corporations included:
- Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), one of the 2010 top 20 Pentagon contractors. Between 2008 and 2010 CSC earned over $1.6 billion but had a negative 18.3% income tax (receiving a $305 million rebate)! At the same time CSC spent over $4 million on lobbying the U.S. government.
- Bank of America , the largest bank and 5th largest corporation in America, in 2009 earned a pretax income of $4.4 billion and paid no income taxes. Instead it received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS in 2010 while spending $3.98 million on lobbying that year.
- Great Plains Energy (KCP & L’s parent company) earned $517 million in profits between 2008 and 2010 and paid $0 in federal and state income taxes during that time. Their profits doubled from 2009 to 2010, causing many to wonder why they are asking for a 15% rate increase.
In addition to delivering the tax bills to these corporations the event included street theater and the presence of Billionaires for Bankruptcy, Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty.
AFSC was responsible for the delivery of the tax bill to the CSC, the Pentagon Contractor. The deliver included comment by AFSC KC program coordinator Ira Harritt, who warned, “There is no hope for our future while the largest corporations and the richest 1% craft tax codes and other legislation to enrich themselves and impoverish the rest of us... Wasting 60% of our tax dollars on wars while underfunding education, health care and investments for our future for the sake of corporate profits is immoral and self destructive for our nation.”
Dave Pack impersonating Pres. D. D. Eisenhower, reminded us, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms in not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
And Army veteran, Carl Greer, who told us “corporations like Computer Sciences Corporation have a direct effect on the treatment of wounded soldiers. There’s been a $10 million reduction in spending by the Veterans Administration in Kansas City alone. We’re tired of these wars. They are only free money for corporations like CSC…”
The demonstration closed with a meeting with Tom Salisbury, aide to Senator Roy Blunt. In the meeting thirty demonstrators delivered of copies of the tax bills, presented a prepared statement from AFSC. Mr. Salisbury met with us after his normal work hours and respectfully listened to comments from members of our group.
We asked him to pass on our demands to Senator Blunt to make all corporations pay their fair share. Further we asked that he work to close corporate tax loopholes, raise revenues through fair taxation on corporations and the wealthiest 1%, make deep cuts to the Pentagon budget and invest in job creation and community needs!