The PJ Tatler

With Union Backing, Sanders Wants to Block Companies from Using Tax Havens

Watch out, Cayman Islands; hello, Campaign 2012 narrative: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill today to keep corporations from using popular tax havens.

The legislation, with a companion bill to be introduced in the House by Rep. Jan Schakowksy (D-Ill.) also would end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs and factories overseas.

“At a time when we have a $16.5 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit; at a time when roughly one-quarter of the largest corporations in America are paying no federal income taxes; and at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high, it is past time for corporate America to contribute significantly to deficit reduction,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, at a news conference today.

“Even as profits grow to record levels, corporations’ share of tax revenues paid has dropped significantly in recent decades.  Sen. Sanders and I are offering a comprehensive and commonsense solution that would eliminate tax subsidizes for big oil companies and corporations that are shipping jobs and profits overseas,” Schakowsky said.

Sanders was joined at the news conference by Bob McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice; Damon Silvers, the policy director for the AFL-CIO; and Dorigen Hoffman, policy director for the Norwich, Vt.-based Clean Yield Asset Management.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said the legislation “would increase investment, employment and wages in the United States,” while Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry said the proposal would “raise revenue, restore fairness to our tax code and create good jobs in the U.S.”

Sanders also released a report today on how 31 corporations represented by the Business Roundtable have avoided $128 billion in federal income taxes by setting up more than 500 subsidiaries in tax haven countries.

The Corporate Tax Fairness Act would require businesses to pay U.S. taxes on their offshore profits as they are earned. Currently, they’re allowed to defer or delay taxes on overseas profits until the money is brought back into the United States.