On June 9, 2010, Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont posted the corporate income tax report of Exxon Mobil in the Congressional Record and took to the floor of the Senate to note:
Last year, ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, reported to the SEC that not only did it avoid paying any Federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million refund from the IRS. So middle-class Americans, people in Vermont and all over this country who are working 50 and 60 hours in order to provide the necessary income they need to pay the bills for their families, those folks go out and they pay their income tax. They may not be too happy about it, but they understand that in a civilized society you have to pay taxes to pay the bills of government.
Not ExxonMobil. The most profitable corporation in the history of the world last year not only avoided paying any Federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million refund from the IRS. If that makes sense to anybody— maybe it does—it surely does not make sense to me….
ExxonMobil is the same huge oil company that has had enough money to provide a $398 million retirement package to its outgoing CEO, Lee Raymond, just a few years ago. They made more money than any corporation in the history of the world last year. They did not pay any Federal taxes. In fact, they got a huge refund from the Federal Government. And some years ago this particular corporation paid out $398 million in retirement package for its CEO. I do not think that makes a whole lot of sense. I think we ought to end that nonsense and end it now. This country is at record-breaking deficits. We cannot allow large corporations such as ExxonMobil not to pay taxes.
Sanders then proposed a legislative amendment that would close tax loopholes and have oil corporations like Exxon Mobil pay income taxes just actual people do. $10 billion in proceeds from oil companies actually paying income tax would have been invested in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program to retrofit facilities across the country to save money and use fewer resources. $25 billion in proceeds would have been dedicated to paying down the national debt.
I write “would have been” because the Sanders Amendment to have oil corporations actually pay income tax, to increase American energy efficiency, and to pay down the deficit was voted down by a margin of 61-35.
(Photo credit: Erik Christensen)