Trump wants to slash America’s corporate tax rate, but that rate is a myth

Trump wants to slash America’s corporate tax rate, but that rate is a myth

Finance and Tax

Here are 100 companies that prove it.

Coming on the heels of his stalled health care push, President Donald Trump now turns his attention to a radical overhaul of the U.S. tax code, promising sweeping cuts for both the middle class and corporate America.

The full details of the president’s plan still are largely unknown, but Trump has zeroed in on the corporate tax rate. Conservative lawmakers have long complained that the U.S. corporate tax rate is too high. The president is pushing to slash it from 35 percent to 15 percent.

It’s true. The U.S. does have the highest corporate tax rate of any OECD country …

… but that doesn’t mean companies pay those tax rates in full. In fact, some don’t pay any taxes at all.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy examined 258 Fortune 500 companies that were profitable from 2008 to 2015 and found 100 companies paid zero — or less — in federal income taxes for at least one year. Some companies like PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) didn’t pay taxes at all. Plus, many received some form of a tax rebate from the U.S. Treasury, often totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

A teal means no taxes were paid that year and a grey means taxes were paid.

Company Rebate No taxes
PG&E Corp. $1.6 B
Pepco Holdings $852 M
Wisconsin Energy $681 M
NiSource $384 M
Duke Energy $482 M
FirstEnergy $821 M
Atmos Energy $122 M
NextEra Energy $334 M $38 M
PPL $224 M
Ameren $257 M
Boeing $1021 B
Ryder System $60 M
Sempra Energy $175 M
CMS Energy $33 M
Reinsurance Group of America $276 M
American Electric Power $806 M
Interpublic Group $63 M
Consolidated Edison $252 M
Xcel Energy $195 M
Dominion Resources $176 M
Cablevision Systems $11 M
Corning $14 M
International Paper $1 B
General Electric $4.7 B
Facebook $429 M
State Street Corp. $891 M
Trinity Industries $127 M
R.R. Donnelley & Sons $75 M
Verizon Communications $1.5 B
DTE Energy $191 M
Oneok $58 M
Qualcomm $291 M
Westrock $26 M
Eversource Energy $43 M
Williams $26 M
Paccar $136 M
Exxon Mobil $1 B
Windstream $125 M
Honeywell International $510 M
Entergy $481 M
Netflix $37 M
CBS $316 M
AGL Resources $101 M
Constellation Brands $176 M
Domtar $21 M
Fifth Third Bancorp $162 M
Public Service Enterprise Group $371 M
Southwest Airlines $69 M
Principal Financial $156 M
Devon Energy $389 M
MDU Resources $35 M
FedEx $173 M
PNC Financial Services Group $317 M
Air Products & Chemicals $31 M
Spectra Energy $32 M
Time Warner $100 M
SpartanNash $1 M
HollyFrontier $24 M
Phillips-Van Heusen $44 M
Eli Lilly $208 M
Sonic Automotive $14 M
Eastman Chemical $82 M
Insight Enterprises $5 M
Texas Instruments $81 M
Health Net $8 M
Yum Brands $70 M
Pitney Bowes $88 M
Group 1 Automotive $11 M
Wells Fargo $4 B
Goldman Sachs Group $801 M
Travelers Cos. $191 M
Darden Restaurants $28 M
Community Health Systems $29 M
Andersons $4 M
Capital One Financial $152 M
DuPont $109 M
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. $1.4 B
Mosaic $25 M
Scana $47 M
Time Warner Cable $188 M
Reliance Steel & Aluminum $15 M
McKesson $85 M
UGI $15 M
HCA Holdings $182 M
International Business Machines $321 M
CenturyLink $49 M
Southern $177 M
Casey’s General Stores $7 M
Rockwell Automation $6 M
Praxair $36 M
DISH Network $36 M
AT&T $422 M
Harris $27 M
Danaher $27 M
Alliance Data Systems $3 M
Arthur Gallagher $3 M
Merck $55 M
ABM Industries 0
Deere $1 M

Why do some companies not pay taxes at all? Study author, Matt Gardner told POLITICO it is because of how Congress has enacted tax breaks over the past 30 years.

“Lobbyists have said we need a tax break for this activity and almost without exception Congress has listened,” said Gardner. “At first, it was manufacturing, but other lobbyists have pushed for special tax breaks for research and big capital investment.”

The result, Gardner said, is we’ve created a piecemeal tax system that’s left certain industries in the cold, paying disproportionately more because they don’t qualify for existing tax breaks. It also allows companies that do qualify to reap more profits and pay less in taxes.

Few companies pay the 35 percent corporate tax rate in full

Below is a chart showing the average corporate tax rate paid by companies from 2008 to 2015.

Company Profit $426 M $185 B

Because of extensive loopholes and special tax breaks, most companies don’t pay the full 35 percent tax rate. The Treasury Department’s latest calculations found that, on average, the effective tax rate for companies was about 22 percent. Trump has proposed a corporate tax rate of 15 percent, which means companies could pay even less.

Trump is considering ending DACA, but hasn’t decided, aides say

Trump administration cuts back Obamacare outreach

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. | Getty

The Trump administration will significantly scale back Obamacare outreach efforts for the upcoming enrollment season, slashing spending on advertising and funding to community groups deployed to boost enrollment.

Senior HHS officials said Thursday afternoon that the federal government will spend $10 million on advertising for the 2018 enrollment season, significantly less than the $100 million the Obama administration spent in its final year. Estimated funds to so-called navigator organizations that help people enroll will be around $37 million, compared to $63 million awarded last year.

Story Continued Below

The announcement followed considerable uncertainty about how the Trump administration would approach Obamacare after the collapse of the repeal effort in Congress in late July.

President Donald Trump has vowed to let Obamacare collapse on its own and threatened to pull key subsidies that could throw markets across the country into turmoil.

The next open Obamacare enrollment period begins Nov. 1 and will last until mid-December in most states.

Tillerson moves toward accepting funding for fighting Russian propaganda

Rex Tillerson is pictured. | AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week approved the use of around $60 million total by the Global Engagement Center toward the anti-propaganda efforts. | Sait Serkan Gurbu/AP

The secretary of state came under pressure from Congress, which appropriated $80 million for countering messages from Islamist extremists — and Russia.

After coming under pressure from lawmakers, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has taken steps toward spending tens of millions of dollars to counter propaganda by Islamist extremists and governments such as Russia.

A State Department official confirmed on Thursday that Tillerson last week approved the use of around $60 million total by the Global Engagement Center toward the anti-propaganda efforts.

Story Continued Below

Tillerson’s decision comes after POLITICO reported that he was holding off on using the money despite the desire of Republicans and Democrats to see it spent.

Almost $20 million of the $60 million was already in the State Department’s coffers and will be released to the center’s officials to fight propaganda by terrorist groups such the Islamic State. Tillerson also approved a request for a transfer of $40 million from the Pentagon to the center so that it can fight state-sponsored propaganda.

Tillerson could have asked for $60 million to be transferred from the Pentagon, and it was not clear why he asked for only $40 million. The State official said only that the dollar amount was “based on the efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation that the [Global Engagement Center] has identified through consultations” with other agencies.

The official also said Tillerson’s overall decision to use the funding “comes after a review and then realignment of [Global Engagement Center] programs to match national security priorities and to ensure that this funding will be used as effectively as possible.”

The Global Engagement Center is an inter-agency unit that is housed at the State Department. It was created in spring 2016, replacing the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. Its original mission was about countering terrorist propaganda, but it has expanded since to deal with state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.

Tillerson’s delay in using the funding sparked anger among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Senators that weighed in included Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. All insisted that Tillerson use the funding to counter the threats posed by terrorist and hostile governments.

Tillerson, the State Department official said, “appreciates Congress’s strong support for addressing these two critical national security threats.”

Sheriff David Clarke resigns: report

Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has resigned months after speculation that he would be joining the Trump administration.

The Milwaukee County Clerk’s Office confirmed to The Hill that Clarke turned in his resignation in a letter Thursday at noon. The letter, obtained by The Hill, doesn’t give a reason for Clarke’s resignation.

“Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 17.01, this communication is submitted as the notice of my resignation as Sheriff of Milwaukee County commencing August 31, 2017,” Clare wrote in the letter.

Clarke was named in a lawsuit earlier this month filed by the family of an inmate, Terrill Thomas, who died in 2016 of dehydration in one of Clarke’s jails. In the suit, the family accuses Clarke and others of subjecting the inmate to “unconscionable pain and suffering and causing his death.”

“The change in Mr. Thomas’ condition was obvious to every jail employee who looked into his cell, including multiple defendants. However, not a single one bothered to call for help until it was too late to save Mr. Thomas’ life,” the suit reads. 

Clarke, a strong supporter of President Trump, was reportedly offered a role in Trump’s Department of Homeland Security in June.

Updated 5:13 p.m.