Lebanon, Pa. has seen its better days. Nearly 20 percent of the 48,206 residents live below the poverty line. Still, there’s nearly everything needed for its resident to get by including a Sonic, a Sheetz gas station, a diner, and of course, a Wal-Mart super-center.
But there isn’t just one. Less than 10 miles away on the other side of town there’s another. They even proposed to build a third super-center less than five miles away from that one. However the proposal was shot-down after fierce public opposition.
Wal-Marts plague across America is coming from taxpayers wallets. According to Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch, eight cities gave multi-million dollar taxpayer bailouts to Wal-Mart:
Bedford, Pa. – Nearly $6 million.
Huntingdon, Pa. – Nearly $4.75 million
Indiana, Pa. – $1.1 million
Mt. Pocono, Pa. – $2.25 million
New Castle, Pa. – $1.3 millionP
Pottsville, Pa. – More than $2.25 million
Woodland, Pa. – $8 million
In Franklin, Pa. Wal-Mart received a $14.25 million bailout. That equals $40.1 million in bailouts for Wal-Mart. These subsidies could have prevented the $33.9 million cut from Mental Health Services and the $6.3 million cut the Autism Intervention Services.
Because there isn’t a centralized database for subsidies received by corporations county-to-county, it’s nearly impossible to uncover whether or not other Wal-Mart stores received additional subsidies.
This data is also only from only eight of Pennsylvania’s 56 cities. How much more have they taken away from taxpayers?
Next years budget crisis is looming over Pennsylvania. With a potential $5 billion deficit, 20,000 public sector jobs are at risk and essential services are in danger of being slashed dramatically once again. Is it fair to continue to give Wal-Mart special tax breaks while or most vulnerable citizens suffer?
It’s not just through subsidiaries where Wal-Mart skirts paying their fair share. Wal-Mart is one of two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies that abuse the Delaware loophole. By setting up a subsidy in Delaware and diverting their assets to that location they are then able to claim zero profit in Pennsylvania.
That means they don’t pay the corporate income tax. Pennsylvania loses between $400 million and $5 billion because of this loophole.
It’s time to enact combined reporting to ensure that big corporations are paying their fair share. They use the infrastructure of our state which are paid for by our tax dollars. Legislators must hold big corporations accountable.
After all, who knows what company we’ll have to bail out next.