In Wisconsin, GE has paid ZERO in state income tax from 2003-2008 despite having earned $109 billion in profits over the same period. In addition, GE Healthcare managed to evade $177,418 in property taxes annually owed to the City of Pewaukee by having their training center reclassified as a manufacturing hub.
If that weren’t bad enough: At the federal level General Electric got a 2010 federal tax subsidy of OVER $4.73 BILLION. Wisconsin’s share of this massive corporate tax giveaway comes to OVER $87 MILLION. If General Electric had paid its fair share in 2010, what could it have meant for spending on these vital programs in Wisconsin?
- Over $9 million for Medicaid – enough to serve over 1,600 people.
- Over $2 million for anti-hunger programs
- Over $1 million for education programs, including
- $195,000 in aid for high-poverty schools
- $705,000 in Pell Grants
- Over $1 million in Earned Income Tax Credits
- Over $1 million in disability compensation for veterans
It was because of GE’s tax-dodging and the fact that they received such a large FEDERAL TAX REFUND in 2010 that concerned Wisconsin citizens decided enough was enough and went to confront GE Healthcare on their own turf – - their Milwaukee-area headquarters. Citizens have previously attempted to get meetings with GE Healthcare CEO Tom Gentile at this office. Unfortunately, GE’s crack security squad was always prepared for the visits and successfully barred activists from getting anywhere near the entrance. But March 30 was a red-letter day and Wisconsin’s 99% launched a surprise visit and easily made it into the GE Healthcare HQ where they could clearly articulate their demands.
While security did overreact and immediately called the police on Florence, a polite and nonthreatening grandmother, she was able to make it clear that when companies like GE shirk their responsibility and dodge taxes it negatively affects all of us. Our education system, our highways, and our essential programs like BadgerCare are all paid for by taxes, and if Wisconsin is truly “broke” (like Gov. “1%” Walker loves to claim) then it’s only because of greedy tax-dodging companies like GE.
In order to fix the problems in our state and country, politicians need to make a choice. Either they will fully fund public services by making tax-dodgers like GE pay their fair share, or they’ll choose to continue to eviscerate public services and hand out more tax breaks for the wealthy by reducing funding to education and the programs that make Wisconsin and the United States great places to live.
Thankfully, most Wisconsinites know that to have a successful society we need to support our state’s programs and hold companies like GE accountable. That’s why we’re standing up against Tax Dodgers on tax day, April 17 with a huge march for the 99% in Milwaukee. Then we’re going to GE’s shareholder meeting in Detroit, April 25. Learn more about those actions.