Ahead of an expected showdown in Congress over budget and tax issues after lawmakers return from their August recess, groups in 16 states are holding 28 events this week to demand that Congress end corporate tax breaks to avoid deeper cuts to spending programs.

The events are being organized by Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of more than 325 national and state organizations.

“With members of Congress back in their states this August, people are demanding that Congress stop corporate tax dodging and invest in America,” said Frank Clemente, campaign manager of Americans for Tax Fairness, in a statement. “Congress faces a clear choice in September when it debates how to keep the government funded: continue to whack away at critical services that protect our families and that are needed to grow our economy, or close gaping tax loopholes so that big corporations and the rich pay their fair share of taxes.”  

ATF also released a report Tuesday, The High Price of Tax Loopholes, highlighting the trade-offs between deep cuts in government services and existing corporate tax breaks. Some of the tax breaks cited in the report include letting corporations defer U.S. taxes on their overseas income until the funds are brought back to the United States; allowing hedge fund managers to cut taxes on a large percentage of their income in half; and giving subsidies to oil and gas companies that make billions in profits every year. Each of these corporate tax breaks is paired against a cut in government benefits or services of roughly the same value that could be avoided or reversed if Congress acts to restrict special tax breaks for large corporations.

The federal deficit-reduction law mandating the “sequester” requires $109 billion in new budget cuts starting Oct. 1. But in two-and-a-half years of deficit-reduction deals, Congress has put in place three times as much budget cutting ($1.8 trillion) as revenue boosting ($620 billion), according to Senate Budget Committee estimates. And all of the tax increases have come from individuals. Corporations have so far contributed nothing to the effort, according to the coalition. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 900,000 jobs will be lost in the next year if this new round of budget cutting goes forward.

“Congress has been acting as though it has no choice but to slash government spending, but politicians are ignoring the fact that cuts to vital services and large job losses could be averted if some corporations were simply required to pay their fair share of taxes,” said Clemente.

The list of states and cities holding events is available here. A sample of events includes:

• Montana: Montana Small Business Alliance and the Montana Organizing Project are sponsoring a roundtable discussion in Billings for small business owners to explain the competitive disadvantage facing small businesses that comes from corporate tax loopholes. Local elected officials will participate.

• Indiana: Americans for Democratic Action will host a budget forum in Goshen, that highlights the tradeoffs between corporate tax dodging and Social Security and Medicare funding and  encourages senators to replace the sequester cuts with new revenues.

• Missouri: A Head Start Center in Columbia will provide the backdrop for a back-to-school press conference organized by GRO urging the state’s U.S. senators to fund education programs by closing corporate tax breaks.

• Arkansas: Arkansas Community Organizations and AFSCME will hold a community town hall in Little Rock to hear from local people impacted by federal budget cuts and to encourage Senator Mark Pryor, D-Ark., to support closing corporate tax breaks to protect critical investments in education, health care and public services.

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