Mike Stagg LIVE: Louisiana Coastal Plan

Friday, 01 April 2011 20:29
Class warfare Continues In Louisiana, U.S. Budget Debates
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While the Louisiana Legislature prepares for a session that will consider devastating budget cuts, Washington is already well on the way to adopting a budget that promises major pain for our country’s working families.

The plan working its way through Congress will eliminate Head Start funding for 200,000 children, cut Pell Grants for 9.4 million college students, eliminate primary health care services for 11 million Americans and delay Social Security benefits for about 500,000 eligible citizens.


The national situation is disturbingly like our own. In Louisiana, big businesses avoid paying more than three-quarters of the taxes on the books. At the same time, our governor is cutting funding for services that the people of the state depend on.

In Washington, business lobbyists complain that the United States has the highest corporate tax rates in the world. But U.S. corporations pay little or none of those taxes:

• General Electric, for example, paid zero taxes, but got a $3.2 billion tax benefit from the federal government. GE’s profit in the United States alone last year was $5.1 billion.

• Exxon Mobil made a $19 billion profit last year, paid no federal taxes, and got a $156 million rebate from the Internal Revenue Service.

• Bank of America, which received nearly $1 trillion in federal bailouts, made $4.4 billion in profits and still got a $1.9 billion tax refund.

• Goldman Sachs, the beneficiary of an $800 billion bailout, made a $2.3 billion profit, but only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes.

Those who want to slash public education and other critical programs say that we must do so because we are broke. We’re not broke, but a system that fails to set clear priorities and gives unfair tax advantages to corporations and the super wealthy is broken.

When this is pointed out, the privileged scream “class warfare.”

The simple truth is that class warfare was declared on working Americans and on working Louisianans. The victims of that war are our public education, health care, infrastructure and quality of life, all sacrificed to save tax breaks for big business and the very rich.

When the legislature convenes on April 25, members will have a chance to do what is right, and make better choices for a better Louisiana. Please visit an important Web site, http://betterchoicesla.org, to find out how we can work together to avoid disaster and build a state that our sons and daughters will continue to call home.

Louisiana Federation of Teachers
Steve Monaghan, President


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