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MoveOn Plays Tax Man With Big Business

Watchdog organization protests at Verizon in Corte Madera and Bank of America in San Rafael.

Two things are certain: death and taxes. Taxes aren't lethal but they sure can sting and news of corporate tax breaks can be like salt in a fresh wound.

Marin MoveOn celebrated tax day Monday by protesting at Bank of America in Fairfax and San Rafael and at Verizon in Corte Madera. The protesters, including one dressed as Uncle Sam carrying a stuffed "fat cat," claim large corporations aren't paying their fair share in taxes.

"Most Americans are paying their fair share and we feel the corporations need to pay their fair share to help people who are served by the government and for functions of the government to work," said Bernie Stephan, the council coordinator for Marin MoveOn.

The events in Marin were part of a day of protests around the nation by MoveOn.org.

Customers at the Verizon store in Corte Madera's Town Center were bewildered at the sight of a man in a red, white and blue outfit walking around as protesters chanted "Tax dodging is not a game. You're hurting our nation. Shame, shame shame!"

The protesters tried to present Verizon with a tax bill before they were asked by store employees to leave. Security was called, but no arrests were made. There were no arrests at any of the MoveOn protests in Marin.

The colorful scene caught some attention, although not everyone was impressed.

"That was lame," said Novato's Mark Giammona, who was getting some technical support for his phone at the Verizon store. "Do they really expect to make Verizon pay those taxes?"

MoveOn.org claims Verizon made $24.2 billon in 2010 but didn't pay any federal corporate taxes, but spent $34 million on lobbyists. MoveOn.org also claims Bank of America made $60 billion over the past four years and didn't pay any taxes.

"Verizon is paying a lot less than their fair share," Stephan said. "Those billions of dollars are hurting the country by them having the power to pass the laws through lobbyists that get them the deductions and tax breaks."

In a written statement, Verizon officials counter "Verizon fully complies with all tax laws and pays its fair share of taxes. In 2010 Verizon’s tax bill was $2.5 billion on total income of $12.7 billion, compared with taxes of $1.9 billion on total income of $13.5 billion in 2009. In both years, this includes deferred taxes.

"Verizon actually pays a higher tax rate than the 19.4 percent reported for 2010.  This is because the majority of Verizon’s total income includes income attributable to Vodafone’s 45 percent interest in Verizon Wireless."

Lee Lull April 19, 2011 at 03:09 PM
The federal corporate tax rate is 35%....much decreased from 30 years ago. 2/3 of American Corporations pay ZERO taxes according to a government report for 2001 to 2007. Probably even less now. These giant trans national companies are richer and more powerful than many countries. Verizon has multiple off shore tax havens as do most of these big corporations who pay ZERO tax. They all lobby/bribe/buy legislators to change the tax laws in their favor (some 34 million in lobbying bribes over the past couple of years) ...and oodles of tax lawyers who help them offshore profits to avoid taxes. Verizon managed to off shore many of their American profits into Vodaphone... a European based extension....who England is going after for avoidance of taxes too! Even scarier is that Verizon is now bribing "our" (ha ha) legislators to KILL net neutrality. This will insure a less informed populace. America is supposed to be by and for the people...not by and for the corporations. Get the corporate money out of our elections and our politicians!
Corey Fischer April 19, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Thank you, GrannyBG. You said it!
Stacey Chappell April 19, 2011 at 06:34 PM
I got stuck in your rediculous mob of protesters yesterday at the Verizon shop. You honestly think that you guys are really going to get through to Verizon by going into one lone retail center? Instead, you caused interruption in customer service and had everyone in the store laughing at you. What else was funny.....i walked up to 1 of you protesters and asked who your cell phone carrier was....she replied VERIZON! Total hypocrites with nothing better to do with your time! And all you could say to back yourself up was "But i dont like em!" Yeah, tons of corporate companies dont pay taxes but in reality, protests like yours arent going to make a bit of a difference. Our government is bad enough giving our tax dollars to welfare recipients who are capable of getting off their rear ends and working....but fact is...its never going to change so learn to live with it...or perhaps move yourselves to another country.
Lee Lull April 19, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Our government gives sooooo much more to their trans national corporate benefactors....than they ever give to our American elderly, sick and children..... it is curious that you use the corporate TV station's propaganda talking points to attack your fellow citizens. And people were meant to laugh...and maybe start thinking or check out facts for themselves.

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