General Electronic Company’s populist “99 percent “ movement saw yet another hurdle with almost 100 protestors agitating during the annual meeting of the Shareholders on its low tax rates.
The protestors shouted slogans of “pay your fair share” as the meeting got underway in the Detroit Headquarters of the firm and continued chanting throughout the span of the meeting. Their voices could be heard even after they were ushered out of the premises.
GE ‘s Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin , defended the tax practices saying that the low tax rates were a result of the heavy losses in 2008 and 2009 at GE Capital. With the firm losing almost $30 billion in the time period from 2008-2010 in credit losses , that reduced the pre tax income and the rates as well. He also mentioned that they had paid taxes of $2.6 billion last year and that they are a regular taxpayer and supporters of tax reforms.
While the protestors were hurdled out , they were joined by other group of demonstrators with signs like “ Dodgers at Work “ .
The 99 percent protestors are a part of the last year’s offshoot of Occupy Wall Street . The protests are based on the idea that economy is no longer supporting the needs of Americans and that the policies support the richest one percent at the top. There is a huge moniker contrast between the average citizen and the wealthiest one percent .
Unlike the incident at the shareholder meet at Wells Fargo’s meeting in San Francisco , no protestors were arrested .
There is a huge budget deficit in Detroit because of which there have been heavy municipal services cuts. The GE’s low tax rates were therefore unfair and that if the corporate want to be citizens , they should be paying their due taxes , said the demonstrators.
The ire of the protestors shot up after the reports came out form the Citizens for Tax justice showing that GE had a negative tax rate in the 2008-2010 period which has been repeatedly denied by the firm.
GE in its filings has disclosed to the SEC that its tax rate , on both U.S and foreign earnings , was seven percent in 2010 and a negative twelve percent in 2009 . Though they haven’t provided tax rate specific to U.S for the prior years.
GE on the other hand assured that it was in favor of tax reforms including the phasing out of the tax deductions for the corporates and the lowering down of the thirty five percent statutory state.