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Does GE Pay Enough In Taxes?

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GE protest in Detroit (credit: Ron Dewey)

GE protest in Detroit (credit: Ron Dewey)

Charlie-Langton Charlie Langton
My real job is an attorney. I have been practicing law for nearly 25...
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DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Amid protests claiming General Electric is ducking taxes, Detroit’s Rev. Charles Williams — who organized local protests against GE — and the Wall Street Journal’s Ed Coury broke down the situation on Charlie Langton’s morning show on Talk Radio 1270.

“GE has cut 32 (thousand) jobs since 2004, received $3.2 billion in refunds from the government in 2010, and continues to not have to pay taxes and continues to outsource jobs to outside countries,” Williams said.

Explaining the situation, Coury said, “This is a continuation of the Occupy wall Street movement. There was a report that said GE had a negative tax rate from 2008 to 2010, the company says that’s just not true …They deny the fact that they paid no taxes.”

Protestors converged on the Renaissance Center this week to protest at GE’s annual stockholders meeting. (View Photos)

Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, an advisor to President Barack Obama, reiterated at that meeting his support of tax reforms. Immelt wants to phase out corporate tax deductions and lower the 35 percent business tax rate. He also wants Washington to agree not to tax overseas profit.

“This is not fair, it’s not fair that if you’re Warren Buffett you can pay less taxes than his secretary,” Williams said. “At the end of the day it does not contribute to our society … keep people working, keep people bustling.”

GE Capital had losses during the Great Recession, and Langton pointed out they were able to carry those over to lower their tax rate. “It does say that in 2010, its overall tax rate, that’s foreign and U.S., was 7 percent, and in 2009 it was negative 12 (percent). Now that includes foreign countries,” Coury said.

GE said it lost $32 billion in the worst year of the Great Recession. “Any company or individual is going to take advantage of every tax break in the book,” Coury said.

Caller Todd from Troy questioned why GE is the target. “It’s not fair for me to pay this and this to pay this and you to pay none,” he said. “Fifty percent of the population in this country pays no taxes, how fair is that?”

After someone said local communities and states need that tax revenue to keep their budgets afloat, caller Tom from Troy said, “The cities never spend that money wisely, that is a really confusing way to say that we need these taxes. The cities, the states have never used that money wisely.”

Janice from Lincoln Park said, “It seems to me all these things are passed through our Legislature — and who’s looking out for the people?”

Williams agreed, saying, “They are definitely looking out for their pockets and not the people.”

So, how much in tax did Williams’ church pay?

“Our organization is a 100 percent service organization,” Williams said. “A church does not collect donations to get profits…A church, like King Solomon Baptist Church, everything that comes into that church goes back out of that church.”

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