Repeated tax dodging of large corporations, some of which, like GE, have gone entire years without paying taxes despite hauling in massive profits. Now, that phenomenon has spread to the states, where many corporations have largely avoided paying state corporate income taxes despite growing profits. Some companies, like DuPont, avoided state taxes altogether, paying nothing from 2008 to 2010 even as its profits piled up.
But DuPont wasn’t alone. According to a study from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 68 corporations avoided state taxes entirely for at least one year from 2008 to 2010, costing state governments at least $42.7 billion, as the New York Times reports:
To gauge how much Fortune 500 companies are paying in corporate income taxes, the study looked at the 265 of them that are both profitable and disclose their state tax payments. It found that 68 reported paying no state corporate taxes in at least one year between 2008 and 2010. All together, the study found that the companies reported $1.33 trillion in domestic profits from 2008 to 2010, but paid states only about half of what they would have if they had paid at the average corporate income tax rate of all states — reducing their state taxes by some $42.7 billion.
As the Times notes, the share of state revenues coming from corporate taxes has steadily declined since 1980, from about 10 percent then to less than 6 percent now. And despite Republican rhetoric calling for lower corporate taxes on the national level, America’s rate there remains low as well. Corporations continue to sit on huge amounts of cash without investing in job creation, but GOP politicians and corporate leaders have called for even larger tax giveaways.
Meanwhile, the lost tax revenue would have gone a long way toward plugging budget holes that were instead filled by cutting education, social services, and programs that helped states’ most vulnerable and needy residents.