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posted: 8/9/2012 5:00 AM

Corporations not paying their share

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Sometimes, timing is everything. In case you missed the irony, these two events happened on the same day (June 28). For the first time in recorded history in the month of June, St. Louis recorded an air temperature of 108 degrees (it was only about 100 in Chicago). And on the back page of the Business section of the Daily Herald, the CEO of Exxon Rex Tillerson informed us (in a speech given the previous night) that this nation's fears about climate change are overblown. In the same speech, Mr. Tillerson acknowledged that the "burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet," and he also assured us that "society will be able to adapt."

Such reassuring comments from the CEO of the most profitable of the Big 5 oil companies. Last year, Exxon made a reported $41.1 billion in profits, while paying an effective tax rate of about 13 percent. That tax rate would be very low for poor slobs like you or me, but it was actually an increase for a company (Exxon) that had paid zero corporate income taxes in 2009. And these are taxes on profits, too, not on income like individuals pay.

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The governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, said recently that we have two political parties, "the corporate party and the corporate-light party." Corporations, especially international corporations, have been given so many special tax considerations (by both political parties) that some of the most profitable companies can find ways to pay virtually no taxes at all. Wouldn't it be nice if society (the American people) had some of the tax money back that these corporations have been saving through special tax breaks? We could use it to pay for the changes we will soon need so we can "adapt" to the warming of our planet.

Philip Graf

Rolling Meadows

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