Activists unfurl 100-foot petition banner at McClintock’s office

Student leaders demand congressman make corporations pay their fair share
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Student activists, organized by California Fair Share, gathered at Representative Tom McClintock’s district office Thursday to call on him to stop the sequester by closing corporate tax loopholes. The student unfurled and delivered to McClintock’s office a 100-foot banner constructed from more than 600 petition signatures.

“Hundreds of citizens and dozens of student leaders have come together in the past few weeks to make one thing clear: We should close corporate tax loopholes, not make cuts that will lay off teachers, police and firefighters,” said Patrick Stelmach, an organizer with California Fair Share. “With California schools already overcrowded and underfunded, we cannot afford to slash education funding with reckless abandon. It is time to make corporations pay their fair share. Rep. McClintock should stand up for our kids’ future, not corporate profits.”

In a press release, Stelmach said tax loopholes for corporations are costing both federal and state governments billions of dollars.

“Recent research shows that the federal government loses around $90 billion annually – and California about $4 billion – to foreign tax havens that allow corporations to hide their profits abroad without taxation. In comparison, the ‘sequester’ would cut $83 billion from the federal budget.”

The cuts will cost California schools $262 million in federal education funding, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“The detrimental budget cuts will further erode our education system. Ten thousand California students will lose access to vital grants and work-study opportunities,” said Kristina Flores, president of the Sierra College Political Science Club. “Like most students, when I graduate from college, I will have $11,000 in loan debt and no guarantee of a job to pay it back. We can fix these problems by closing corporate tax loopholes and investing in education and job creation.”

“Rep. McClintock has an opportunity to stop budget cuts that will devastate our communities, and have money left over to reduce the deficit and invest in the middle class,” Stelmach said. “While Rep. McClintock has stated he favors closing tax loopholes, we are disappointed that he insists on giving the money right back to those corporations through lowering tax rates. It’s a shame he would rather keep giving tax breaks to corporations than properly fund our schools and support the middle class.”

A February 2013 poll by the national coalition Americans for Tax Fairness found that 64 percent of voters believe that corporations should pay more in taxes, Stelmach said. “The same study found that 80 percent of voters believe that closing corporate tax loopholes that benefit big corporations is an important budget goal.”

“The hundreds of citizens and local leaders that have joined our campaign are putting Rep. McClintock on notice: Stop giving corporations a free ride while the rest of us pay the fare,” Stelmach said. “By closing large corporate tax loopholes, Rep. McClintock can deliver a stronger economy and a stronger budget in 2013 without sacrificing the middle class.”

Stelmach said the group met with McClintock’s staff later in the afternoon, and they said McClintock wanted the "sequester" cuts to go through.

“His position on corporate tax loopholes is he favors eliminating them, but only if the overall rate was lowered,” Stelmach said. “While we applaud his intention to close loopholes, we are opposed to the drastic budget cuts and giving corporations more tax breaks.