Out fucking rageous:
I received an email late last night from the Governor of Oregon.
I had written to Governor Ted Kulongoski asking him why the taxpayers of his state were subsidizing Wal-Mart with a $3.7 million tax break they didn’t deserve. “Thank you for sharing your ideas and concerns,” the Governor told me. “I believe citizen input is vital to a strong and healthy society and I urge your continued involvement.” [...]
According to the Beaverton Valley Times, Wal-Mart received a fat subsidy at taxpayer’s expense by buying a tax credit from Solar World, a German company that makes photovoltaic solar panels. The city of Hillsborough, Oregon was able to attract this large solar production plant, and its 1,000 jobs, by offering a candy store of tax-subsidized incentives to the manufacturer. But some of the profits ended up in Wal-Mart’s pocket instead, because of a bizarre arrangement that allows manufacturers to sell their tax credits to companies who are doing nothing valuable for the environment, like Wal-Mart.
According to the Valley Times, Solar World was given an $11 million renewable energy tax credit. Solar World was then allowed to turn around and sell that credit to Wal-Mart for only $7.3 million, two-thirds of its real value. The full $11 million value of the credit was 51% more than what Wal-Mart paid for it. Wal-Mart can now use the full credit to reduce its corporate income taxes on profits owed to the state, earned at Wal-Mart’s 32 stores across Oregon. Wal-Mart can spread this $11 million tax credit over the next five years. Oregon taxpayers lose out on $11 million in income taxes that the corporation would have paid, and Wal-Mart makes $3.7 million for merely buying up the credit. [...]
For Solar World, the tax credit had more value as a commodity to sell—than as a tax break, because Solar World only pays the state minimum tax of $10 per year. The tax credit was worth little to the company—unless they sold it. “A tax credit’s only good for those people who have a tax liability,” explained a representative of the Oregon Department of Energy.