Small Businesses Call For Buffett Rule For Corporations

New Report Shows GE, Verizon and 35 Other Big Businesses Paid No Income Tax in 2010 on Combined Profit of $50 Billion 

By Bob Keener | Business for Shared Prosperity

November 3, 2011

** Business owners available for comment in many states in addition to those quoted below **

Statement from Business for Shared Prosperity, the Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council: 

The report released today by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy underscores the urgent need for tax reform to close loopholes that reward Big Business for offshoring U.S. profits and jobs, and rob our nation of revenues needed for domestic investment.

The 280 profitable large corporations in the report paid an effective tax rate that was half the official rate, and 37 of them paid no income tax at all on combined 2010 profits of $50 billion. That $50 billion is more than 50 times the entire budget of the Small Business Administration.

Corporate taxes paid for more than a quarter of federal outlays in the 1950s; last year they paid for just 6 percent. As we said in our joint letter this week to the Congressional Supercommittee, we need reforms that level the playing field for small business, stop corporate tax dodging, and raise revenue to rebuild the vital infrastructure and public services that underpin our economy.”

The three organizations released the following quotes from small business leaders in response to the new report:

“We need a Buffett Rule for corporations as well as wealthy individuals,” said Scott Klinger, director of tax policy for Business for Shared Prosperity. “Our 400 richest taxpayers and 280 of our richest corporations pay an average effective tax rate around 18 percent, which is half the official rates for each. Warren Buffett spotlighted the madness of a tax code that lets him pay a lower rate than his secretary. Likewise, Big Business shouldn’t be paying lower taxes than small businesses.”

“Big Business is getting away with taxation murder,” said Frank Knapp,President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and Vice Chairman of the American Sustainable Business Council. “They pay little or no taxes on massive U.S. profits and then have the gall to lobby for lowering the ‘high’ corporate tax rate. They’re even campaigning for a tax holiday to ‘repatriate’ profits they have stashed offshore to avoid taxes. Patriots pay their taxes; they don’t dodge them.”

“I paid a higher tax rate than Amazon did last year,” said Lew Prince, managing partner of Vintage Vinyl, an independent music store in St. Louis, MO and Business for Shared Prosperity member. “If I paid Amazon’s tax rate of 5.5% I could end up in jail as a tax cheat. Amazon wouldn’t exist without the Internet, which grew out of a government project. Their shipments depend on an infrastructure of taxpayer financed roads and airports. The least they could do is pay their fair share.”

“It would be budgetary suicide to accept a version of corporate tax reform that doesn’t raise new money,” said Kelly Conklin, owner ofFoley-Waite Associates, a custom woodworking business inBloomfield, NJ and steering committee member of the Main Street Alliance network. “When big corporations like GE and Verizon dodge their taxes and stick the rest of us with the bill, it really makes me see red. Why would we reward them by locking in the corporate share of federal receipts at a historically low rate – a rate that would shock Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan? It’s another massive handout to big business that small businesses and our country simply can’t afford.”

Click here to view the new report on corporate tax dodgers from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.


Business for Shared Prosperity is a network of forward thinking business owners, executives and investors. BSP has organized petitions for positive corporate tax reform and for ending top-rate tax cuts, and produced related reports. BSP is a member of the American Sustainable Business

The American Sustainable Business Council is a growing coalition of businesses and business networks representing over 100,000 businesses and more than 200,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives and investors committed to advancing policies that support a vibrant and sustainable economy.

The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. MSA creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies. 


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