Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has long called for reform of tax laws to end loopholes which allow highly profitable corporations to not only pay no income taxes, but receive huge “refunds” of taxes never paid. On Tuesday, Sanders questioned Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, about the issue during the Senate Budget Committee hearing on the president’s budget proposal for fiscal 2016.
“Many of my Republican colleagues believe that what is best for the country in the future is basically to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut,” Sanders said. “Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition etc. ect. others of us don’t think that is what is best for working families in this country.”
He went on to say that his staff had done some research and found that many major corporations exploit the loopholes in the corporate tax law to avoid paying any income tax and that they actually receive huge refunds.
Sanders cited General Electric, which from 2008-2014, earned nearly $34 billion in profits in the United States. Not only did they not pay any income taxes on those profits, but they received a “refund” of nearly $3 billion from the government. In that same time frame Verizon made $42 billion in profits and received $732 million in “refunds” while paying zero in taxes.
“I think the President’s budget begins to address some of these issues,” he said, “can you talk to us, in your view about whether or not it is appropriate that one large, major, profitable corporation after another pays zero in federal income taxes?”
Donovan agreed that our tax codes create not only unfairness but also are damaging to the economy stifling economic growth.
“We do support, and the budget lays this out,” he said, “reform of our business tax system that would not only make it more fair but in the long run would increase economic growth.”
Watch the exchange in the video below.