Little Guy Verizon Asks Employees To Help Fight Oppression Of Higher Corporate Taxes
Verizon has never been a big fan of paying taxes. From 2008 to 2013, the cellular provider not only did not pay any federal taxes, they got refunds, making their effective tax rate a negative 2.5 percent. While they have started paying taxes a little bit in recent years, they don't like it, even though they actually pay a much lower rate than you or I or their workers pay. Just recently, the Pandora Papers revealed that Verizon, like several other corporations, had some side agreements with Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes.
So, you can imagine that they are not very happy about the Democrats' plan to raise corporate taxes to nowhere near as high as they were before the Trump administration in order to fund things that will help American citizens who are not Verizon executives. Trump dropped the corporate tax rate from a tiered corporate tax of 15 to 39 percent to a flat tax of 21 percent. While President Joe Biden had initially proposed bringing taxes back to previous pre-Trump levels, Democrats set it at 26.5 percent in order to get House moderates to sign on.
That's still too much for Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and it's far too much for Verizon, who would, again, really prefer to pay nothing in taxes at all. Unfortunately for them, American voters tend to disagree. So they decided to try and get some grassroots support going by sending their employees an email asking them to join the fight against Verizon having to pay its fair share of taxes, suggesting that if these taxes are raised, they are the ones who will pay. Unfortunately for them, one of their employees thought that was a tad uncouth and sent that email on over to Ken Klippenstein of The Intercept.
The email, titled "Urgent Update – Tax increases on the horizon," reads:
For many years, Verizon has participated in the RATE Coalition (RATE) and fought to make the US federal corporate income tax rate competitive in the world. The current corporate income tax rate is generally competitive, even when combined a state corporate income taxes. However, the overall US rates still exceeds rates imposed by our leading competitors, making any increase a serious threat to our global competitiveness. As a leading member of RATE , our advocacy highlighted that one of the most significant problems stemming from having an uncompetitive corporate tax rate is the impact it has on American workers like you. In fact recent studies have identified that as much as 70 to 85% of the corporate tax is borne by wage earners. Unfortunately, Congress is currently considering increasing the corporate tax rate by over 25%, making it once again one of the highest rates in the world and one that will directly impact all of us.
We just want to stop to note that scary "over 25%" is an increase from 21 percent to 26 percent. Sure, five percent is more than 25 percent of 21, but it's not going from 21 percent to 46 percent. Second, even an article in Forbes written in opposition to corporate tax hikes claims that the percentage of corporate taxes borne by employees is 30-35 percent, nowhere near the amount they are suggesting. Third, that seems like a them problem, and certainly something within Verizon's control. What are they going to do? Cut workers' pay? Good luck keeping them. Fire them all and hire new employees willing to work for peanuts? Good luck finding some. Pick up their ball and sell cell coverage in Not America instead? They should try Europe instead, where that stuff's actually regulated.
We need you to lend your voice to the fight: Congressional majorities in the House and Senate are moving forward with a plan to increase the corporate tax rate, which will have a significant impact on you and our economy as it continues to struggle and is recovering from a global pandemic. We need your help encouraging Congress to keep the corporate tax rate globally competitive.
This is where your voice is critical.
American companies like ours would be seriously disadvantaged if we go back to paying the world's highest tax rate. As Congress proceeds with its efforts, RATE and its member company employees need to continue to press policy makers to keep the corporate tax rate globally competitive.
Go back? They never paid that rate in the first place. Also 26.5 percent would in no way be the "world's highest tax rate." Many countries pay more. The average corporate tax rate around the world is 23.85 percent, and 25.85 percent when weighted by GDP. Democrats are proposing a rate that is not even one percent more than that. And the fact is, it probably wouldn't have to even be that high if companies like Verizon could see their way to paying just a little bit in taxes, every once in a while.
With the support of this grassroots network, Verizon is going to be on the front lines of this fight. It is more important now than ever for America's business taxes to remain competitive in today's global economy.
Read more about this effort and then add your voice by sending a message directly to your elected officials.
The email was sent to workers by Verizon's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Matthew Ellis, who made $8,826,268 last year. It included a little note at the bottom reading "Your participation is strictly voluntary and not a condition of your employment." Sure it is. But they really just want employees to know that they are going to pay them less if the tax rate goes up.
Quite frankly, it's unclear why they need to go around definitely not threatening their employees with lower wages when the RATE and other corporate advocacy organizations have paid Kyrsten Sinema almost a million dollars to keep their taxes down. But it's always good to have a backup plan, I suppose.
They better hope, however, that no one in their "grassroots network" successfully contacts Elizabeth Warren or her office with this shit, because I don't see that ending well for them.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse