Corporations Hate Taxes, So They Let the Children Pay
Two recent studies, both rather troubling on their own, are even more disturbing when the relationship between the two is considered.
The first is a study by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) that shows tax avoidance at the state level. The CTJ study, which evaluated 265 large companies, determined that an average of 3% was paid in state taxes, less than half the average state tax rate of 6.2%. The ten states with 10 or more companies in the study all collected between 2.5% and 3.55%: Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, California, North Carolina, and New York.
CTJ notes that "these 265 companies avoided a total of $42.7 billion in state corporate income taxes over the three years." That's about $14 billion per year.
The second study, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), reports that "Elementary and high schools are receiving less state funding than last year in at least 37 states, and in at least 30 states school funding now stands below 2008 levels - often far below."
Combining CBPP figures with enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that total K-12 education cuts for fiscal 2012 are about $12.7 billion.
Corporate state tax avoidance is about $14 billion for one year.
State education cuts amount to about $12.7 billion for one year.
The connection becomes clearer with a look at the details. The figures for all 20 states represented by four or more companies in the CTJ tax avoidance study are listed at PayUpNow.org. A comparison with the CBPP study on education cuts shows that 19 of these 20 states cut education funding in Fiscal 2012. The nine states that increased educational funding were largely absent from the CTJ study, with a total of only 15 (out of 265) tax avoiding companies.
In general, the states with significant tax-avoiding corporations tended to make sizable cuts in education.
It might be argued that no direct connection exists between corporate state tax shortfalls and school cuts, or that the unpayed tax money might have been earmarked for other expenditures.
But the amounts of corporate savings and student loss are distressingly similar. Big companies refuse to meet their tax obligations, and our children end up paying through cuts to their educations.