A group calling itself US Uncut organized a series of protests over the weekend at Bank of America branches across the country to protest large corporations with unpaid income taxes.
The group organized protests at over 40 branches of Bank of America on Saturday, with members waiting on line to present fake checks to bank tellers for $1.5 billion made out to “The United States c/o Taxpaying Citizens,” according to the Huffington Post. That would be roughly equivalent to the unpaid taxes on BofA’s 2009 earnings of $4.4 billion, according to organizers.
The group is an offshoot of a British organization called UK Uncut that also aims to shame corporations in the United Kingdom into paying more of their share of corporate income taxes.
The groups argue that if corporations paid their income taxes, governments in the U.S. and the U.K. would not need to cut their budgets as deeply. The new U.S. group points out that the Obama adminsitration wants to trim $1.1 trillion from the budget over the next 10 years by cutting or eliminating nearly 200 federal programs, many of which are dedicated to social services or education. Its budget for fiscal 2012 contains cuts to home heating assistance programs, Pell Grants for students, and decreases funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by over 12 percent. Congressional Republicans are urging the administration to slash the budget even more deeply.
They contrast the budget cuts with corporations that have been able to lower their tax bills. “Enjoying record profits and taxpayer-funded bailouts as the economy slowly recovers from a financial crisis, nearly two-thirds of U.S. corporations don't pay any income taxes, instead opting to abuse tax loopholes and offshore tax havens,” the group pointed out on its Web site. “According to this study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations that operate in the US exploit corporate tax havens. Since 2009, America’s most profitable companies such as ExxonMobil, General Electric, Bank of America and Citigroup all paid a grand total of $0 in federal income taxes to Uncle Sam. Tax havens alone account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade, money that could be invested in K-12 education, colleges, public health, job creation and hundreds of other worthy public programs. If we pay our taxes, why don’t they? If corporations profit here, shouldn't they pay here?”
The group is aiming to attract more members and organize more protests as an alternative to the burgeoning Tea Party movement that has been pressing for tax cuts over the past two years.