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NC Budget and Tax Center

***This post was authored by Jelicia Diggs.

As Congress debates reforming the federal tax code, it is critically important to raise new revenues that can support our nation’s long-term economic recovery.  One excellent source of new revenues involves the billions of dollars in corporate tax loopholes, deductions, credits, and outright giveaways that allow too many multinational corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  This year, N.C. Policy Watch and the N.C. Budget and Tax Center are focusing on federal corporate tax reform as a means of highlighting a frequently under-reported fact: Namely, not all American corporations are paying the statutory tax rate and therefore are failing to support fiscal responsibility and the investments that are needed for a strong economy.

To underscore this message, we are shining a light on a number of corporate tax avoiders with strong connections to North Carolina by summarizing:

  1. the size and scope of their businesses,
  2. the taxes they have avoided paying in recent years, and
  3. the methods they use to accomplish this.

Click here to read previous profiles of Duke Energy, Merck & Co. and International Paper.

Company: DuPont

Background and North Carolina connections:

Founded over two centuries ago as a gunpowder mill, DuPont has grown into one of the top five largest chemical companies in the world. In fact, Fortune Magazine ranks Dupont as one of the nation’s “Most Admired Companies” and second in the world among chemical companies. DuPont is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.

DuPont is best described as a global science company that offers products and services in fifteen industries such as automotive, chemical, medical, and energy. With diverse industries in more than 90 countries, this company puts out to introduce hundreds of products and patents every year. In 1968 DuPont opened its fourth United States location in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Fayetteville plant manufactures a variety of fibers, new films and specialty chemicals needed by businesses, the military, and consumers.  The Fayetteville location employs just over 900 employees.

Over the past several years, DuPont has experienced a successful recovery from the Great Recession, and is continuing to generate significant profits.  After cutting more than 17,000 jobs in 2010 due to the recession, DuPont has since managed to regain its dominant footing in the chemical industry. The company currently has more than 150 research and development centers and more than 70,000 employees worldwide and $49.7 billion in assets. Forbes.com reported last year that DuPont’s CEO Ellen Kullman has received an average compensation of around $9.7 million per year, for each of the last six years.

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Uncategorized

Myron Pitts of the Fayetteville Observer has a worth-reading column in this morning’s paper in which he says the conservatives running the state may come to regret the extreme path they’ve followed this session.

“For sure, the wealthiest folks in the state will do quite well in the new scenario. With their top tax rate of 7.75 percent replaced with a regressive, flat tax, they stand to make thousands more per year in personal income. The corporate tax rate has been reduced, too, from 6.9 to 6 percent.

But should we be surprised by this shift of money up the ladder? The state’s budget director, Art Pope, is very rich with money he made off the very poor, through his discount retail chains, such as Roses and Maxway. Read More

Uncategorized

This is from this morning’s Fayetteville Observer:

“The state’s fiscal year began last week, but it did so without benefit of a new budget. That’s on hold until the House and Senate can agree on much-needed changes in the tax code.

Unfortunately, the two legislative bodies are miles apart in their tax plans and appear determined to stay that way for a while. Until they settle on the way they’ll tax us, they can’t move forward on the way they’ll spend the money.

The Senate did blink last week. It passed a watered-down version of its tax plan Wednesday. But even that modified bill may be stronger medicine than many state interests want to take. It eliminates corporate income taxes over the next few years and cuts personal income taxes to a flat 5.75 percent.

Legislative analysts conclude that the measure will be most beneficial to the wealthy. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

During yesterday’s Finance Committee debate over the latest iteration of the Senate’s billion-dollar tax cut plan, the bill’s sponsors repeatedly referenced the need to improve North Carolina’s economic competitiveness as the chief reason to cut income taxes.  While generating new job creation and economic growth is clearly a top priority for North Carolina, deep tax cuts to corporate and personal income tax rates are just not an effective way to accomplish these goals.

Much of the “evidence” tax cut proponents have cited in support of their proposals have been thoroughly debunked—both by the research of academic economists and the actual experience of states that pursued these policies. For example, out-of-state groups like the Tax Foundation have misleadingly claimed that “23 of 26” academic studies have shown that taxes hurt economic growth, but it turns out that these studies were either misquoted, cherry-picked, or failed to address the issue of tax policy at the state level.

Instead, a full look at the evidence reveals that tax cuts just don’t deliver. A panel of highly-respected economists from the state’s leading universities came before the Senate Finance committee last month and gave their much more rigorous and informed  response—one also at odds with the Tax Foundation study and the views of Senate leadership. In their experience, these economists said, there was no economic consensus that cutting taxes would lead to improved economic growth.  And they also noted that it would be important to consider the negative effects of reducing state spending if that was the way tax cuts were “paid for.”

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NC Budget and Tax Center

One of the most eye-popping parts of the Senate tax reform plan is the proposed elimination of the state’s Corporate Income Tax, for a cost of $1 billion in foregone revenue each year.  Although Senate leaders have expressed high hopes for the economic benefits of this tax cut, they are likely to be disappointed—corporate tax cuts have repeatedly been proved to be a poor strategy for boosting the economy.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this failure is that only a small fraction of the additional income given to these corporations through tax cuts is spent within the state giving the tax cut.  And if North Carolina acts like the rest of the economy, then corporations will put just 10% of this tax cut back into North Carolina. The remaining 90% will be distributed to shareholder across the globe, or invested in other states and nations.

So why will North Carolina receive just 10% of the benefits of scrapping the corporate income tax?  Follow us below the fold to find out.

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