Monday, February 3, 2014

States spend more on corporate tax breaks than worker pensions

In 10 states,  the revenue lost to corporations through loopholes and tax breaks is bigger the current cost of pension benefits to state employees, according to a new report by Good Jobs First.

Philip Mattera, research director of  Good Jobs First, said politicians are balancing their budgets on the backs of public employees, though Wall Street caused their revenue shortfalls. And:
...our research shows that corporate interests are generally prioritized over teachers, firefighters, police officers, and thousands of other employees who dedicate their lives to public service. 
No shock there. What is shocking is the size of the corporate subsidies. In Pennsylvania, for example, corporate subsidies and loopholes cost $4 billion every year -- two-and-a-half times the cost of public pensions. 
Said Mattera: 
As a matter of honest accounting and fair budgeting, state leaders should examine all forms of spending before  they single out pensions or any other expense,” said Mattera. “Corporate tax breaks and loopholes are often poorly understood and little-noticed because they do not get debated as appropriations, nor do they often get sunsetted or audited. But over time they add up to hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars per year.
Good Jobs First studied 10 states where legislatures are trying to steal pensions underfunding pensions or elected officials are threatening to cut them. They are:
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania. 
Read the whole thing here.