Now you see me: Protesters dress as corporate tax ghosts
to call for tax-loophole closure.
the Budget-Busting Ghosts
June 9, members of Better Choice For New York, a group that
includes, among others, members of the Public Employees Federation,
Citizen Action, the Hunger Action Network of New York State,
Housing Works, the Fiscal Policy Institute, and the Statewide
Emergency Network for Social and Economic Security, rallied
outside the state Capitol. Some were dressed as ghosts, representing
the multinational corporations that avoid paying more than
$1 billion dollars in state taxes each year by drifting, like
ghosts, through tax loopholes. Other members of the coalition
were dressed as Ghostbusters, who acted out a confrontation
with the corporate ghosts to expose their tax policies.
The event was designed to highlight the need for legislators
to close tax loopholes used by multinational corporations.
These loopholes cause budget problems for New York state,
which is currently facing an approximately $5 billion deficit.
The coalition is accusing corporations like United Parcel
Service, General Electric, Wal-Mart and Eastman Kodak of not
only failing to pay their share of state taxes, but also failing
to report how much they actually paid in New York state corporate
These corporate-tax loopholes include the abuse of Empire
Zones, which are designed to increase economic development
in an area in exchange for tax breaks. But companies that
locate in Empire Zones are often accused of falling short
of their promise to create jobs, while still benefiting financially
from the tax breaks.
Another problem with corporate taxes is the creation of “nowhere
income,” which, according to the coalition’s Web site, is
when corporations do not pay taxes “on profits attributable
to sales made in states in which they do not have a physical
The rally included speeches by Assemblymen James Brennan (D-Brooklyn),
(D-Manhattan), and Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), as well
as skits and a Q & A session.
Ron Deutsch of the Statewide Emergency Network for Social
and Economic Security, who was dressed as one of the rally’s
Ghostbusters, said that they wanted to bring many issues to
the public’s, and specifically legislators’, attention.
would like to see corporations engage in what is called combined
reporting so that they report to the state and federal government
on one return how much they are paying in federal and state
taxes. Right now they are not required to do that, though
many other states do require it,” he said.
In states that use combined reporting, corporations are prevented
from moving income to other states where their income is not
Those at the rally hoped that legislators would follow the
coalition’s lead on the matter. “We should be putting our
feet down and demanding that these corporations pay their
fair share of taxes,” said Denyce Duncan Lacy, spokeswoman
for the Public Employees Federation. “To do that, they have
to pass legislation to close these huge tax loopholes. If
they do that, then we wouldn’t have as much red ink in the
state budget as we do now.
rejecting the school board’s initial budget proposal, voters
throughout the city of Albany will offer their final say over
the district’s budget for the coming year this Tuesday (June
On May 18, approximately 4,500 of the city’s roughly 60,000
registered voters turned out to vote on the school board’s
initial budget proposal of $147.9 million dollars, which would
have brought a tax rate increase of approximately 10 percent.
Voters said no to that budget, by a count of 2,454 to 2,006.
Hoping to avoid staff layoffs and program cuts, the school
board has assembled a second proposal, a $145.3 million budget
that dips into reserve funds to keep the tax rate increase
to 5.9 percent. The vote will be held Tuesday, June 22, from
7 AM to 9 PM at polling places throughout the city.
Should voters reject the board’s final proposal, the district
would be forced to fall back on a contingency budget, which
by state law mandates a 2-percent increase over the previous
year’s budget. That would mean a budget that weighs in at
$142.8 million, which according to the district’s Web site
would lead to laying off “34 teachers, 50 support staff, or
more likely a combination of the two along with four administrators
(vice principals, principals, directors).”
For more information on the budget or polling places, voters
can visit the district’s Web site, www.albanyschools.org,
or call the district’s main offices at 462-7100.