Initiative 103 will be partying it up with other local creative activists for the Beautiful Trouble book launch on Wednesday, May 16th at the Richard Hugo House. Hope to see you there! RSVP on Facebook!
Apple's not the only company to save billions in taxes through Nevada as The New York Times reported yesterday. Here's how Microsoft's saved $4.37 billion in tax payments to Washington State and how it's led indirectly to $4 billion in K-12 and Higher Education cuts since 2008. 18% of University of Washington freshman are now foreigners (because they pay more) up from 2% six years ago. Washington State ranks 47th nationally in 18-24 yo college enrollment and 48th in K-12 class size. This hasn't stopped the architect of the company's Nevada tax dodge from writing in The Seattle Times: 'it's [Washington] state's paramount duty to provide for the public education of all children. Unfortunately, steady declines in public resources now threaten our ability to live up to that commitment.' Yes, indeed.
So, I thought it was a bit surprising that The Times hit Amazon with a front page article on its poor record of corporate giving in Seattle. The article ran on April Fools Day - so perhaps this was The Seattle Times treating its readers for fools.
But seriously, doesn't paying your taxes come before corporate giving? Isn't tax dodging a bigger sin than failing to make donations to your community?
When newspapers fail to cover the problems in our tax system and the former-Microsoft employee turned legislator that contributes to the problem, then the region's safety net falls apart and we depend more heavily on corporate donations. But surely The Times should do a better job of covering this issue first.
There's been a lot of discussion and excitement about the Montana State Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down portions of Citizens United. Sorry to bum you all out but my cursory read of the court's Western Tradition Partnership ruling is that it actually challenges only a very small part of Citizens United. Read my full post over at Envision Seattle.
In December, John Burbank of the Economic Opportunity Institute wrote in The Herald that,"By running its licensing sales through a shop in Reno, Nev., it avoids royalty taxes that could be funding high-quality schools for Washington's children." Microsoft's Jeffrey Reading asked The Herald for a correction "Much of the information regarding this issue is misinformation primarily spread by a blogger [me]."
I've written an open letter to Microsoft's General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Microsoft to release its Washington State Royalty Tax payments for the years 1998 - 2010 so they can prove their case against me.
Last month, Smith wrote a column in The Seattle Times in which he expressed concern that falling tax revenues are hurting education: "Like many states, Washington continues to battle significant budget challenges. Unlike many states, however, our constitution declares that it's the state's paramount duty to provide for the public education of all children. Unfortunately, steady declines in public resources now threaten our ability to live up to that commitment."
"Mr. Burbank does not include sourcing to support his claims regarding Microsoft’s Nevada licensing, which is part of a very complicated piece of state tax law. Much of the information regarding this issue is misinformation primarily spread by a blogger, and no state official has ever provided any factual data supporting his claims."
I stand behind my research and all of my claims. If Microsoft wishes to prove that it paid Washington State Royalty Taxes during the years 1998 - 2010, it should disclose its worldwide licensing revenue and its Royalty Tax payments for this time period. It would be quite simple for the company to provide these two sets of numbers and would put the issue to rest once and for all (as I have done here).