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Robert Reich: Corporate welfare is ravaging American taxpayers

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Corporate welfare is often camouflaged in taxes that seem neutral on their face but give windfalls to big entrenched corporations at the expense of average people and small businesses.

Take a look at commercial property taxes in California, for example.

In 1978 California voters passed Proposition 13 – which began to assess property for tax purposes at its price when it was bought, rather than its current market price.

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This has protected homeowners and renters. But it’s also given a quiet windfall to entrenched corporate owners of commercial property.

Corporations don’t need this protection. They’re in the real economy. They’re supposed to compete on a level playing field with new companies whose property taxes are based on current market prices.

This corporate windfall has caused three big problems.

First, it’s shifted more of the property tax on to California homeowners.

Back in 1978, corporations paid 44 percent of all property taxes and homeowners paid 56 percent. Now, after exploiting this loophole for years, corporations pay only 28 percent of property taxes, while homeowners pick up 72 percent of the tab.

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Second, it’s robbed California of billions of dollars to support schools and local services. If all corporations were paying the property taxes they should be paying, schools and local services would have $9 billion dollars more in revenues this year.

Third, it penalizes new and expanding businesses that don’t get this windfall because their commercial property is assessed at the current market price – but they compete for customers with companies whose property is assessed at the price they purchased it years ago.

That’s unfair and it’s bad for the economy because California needs new and expanding businesses.

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Today, almost half of all commercial properties in California pay their fair share of property taxes, but they’re hobbled by those that don’t.

This loophole must be closed. All corporations should be paying commercial property taxes based on current market prices.

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The giant corporations that are currently exploiting the loophole for their own profits obviously don’t want it closed, so they’re trying to scare people by saying closing it will cause businesses to leave California.

That’s baloney. Leveling the playing field for all businesses will make the California economy more efficient, and help new and expanding businesses.

Besides, California’s property taxes are already much lower than the national average. So even if corporations pay their full share, they’re still getting a great deal.

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Right now, a grassroots movement is growing of Californians determined to reform this broken commercial property tax system, and who know California needs more stable funding for its schools, libraries, roads, and communities.


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‘Detroit is burning right now’: Michigan doctor paints frightening picture of COVID-19 in her city on CNN

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A Michigan doctor on Wednesday painted a frightening picture of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on her home city of Detroit.

In an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow, Dr. Teena Chopra said that Detroit's medical system was getting overwhelmed at the moment.

"The resources are poor," she said of her situation at the Detroit Medical Center. "36 percent of the population are below the poverty line. Lack of education, lack of access to clean water supply -- I think all of these factors are social determinants and play a big role. that's why we're becoming the next epicenter with the trends we are seeing."

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Larry David curbs his enthusiasm for coronavirus ‘idiots’ in a hilarious video — with a serious plea

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The coronaviruspandemic is no laughing matter. According to Johns Hopkins University, almost 900,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed around the world. The U.S. leads the way with almost 200,000 people infected by the coronavirus.Despite dire predictions from Dr. Anthony Fauci,thedirector of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who predicted as many as 200,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus, people all across the country are not seriously embracing the call for self quarantines and social distancing.LATEST CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FROM NJ.COMThat prompted Califor... (more…)

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Trump surgeon general says Florida should shut down: ‘These guidelines are a national stay-at-home order’

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Trump Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Wednesday said that it's time for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to heed the advice being given by the federal government and issue a stay-at-home order for his state.

During an interview on NBC's "Today," host Savannah Guthrie repeatedly pressed Adams about DeSantis's claim that he would issue a stay-at-home order for his state if he were advised to do so by the federal government.

When asked what advice he would now give to DeSantis, Adams said that the government's guidelines on social distancing should be adopted throughout the United States.

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