The New York Times reported over the weekend that Donald Trump may have avoided paying federal income taxes altogether by reporting $916 million in losses on his 1995 tax return.
Sam Thielman at the Guardian US explained that Trump “wrote off the disastrous collapse of his Atlantic City casino properties in New Jersey and other business mishaps on his 1995 personal income taxes” and as a result probably paid no income taxes at all until 2014, the year that the Trump Taj Mahal casino went bankrupt.
Thielman made a list of a few things that the U.S. government could do with $916 million in tax revenue.
1. Rebuild the Trump Taj Mahal: The Atlantic City casino took around $1 billion to build. Trump has described the project as the “eighth wonder of the world,” but after declaring bankruptcy in 2014, the casino is set to close its doors for good some time this month, according to the Press of Atlantic City newspaper.
An estimated 2,800 casino employees will lose their jobs as well as workers at the various restaurants and other businesses housed within the casino complex. Trump was once Atlantic City’s largest employer. Now, Thielman said, the collapse of his casinos has left the city “teetering on the edge of bankruptcy” itself.
2. Close the budget gap for the whole state of New Jersey: Due to lower-than-expected tax revenues, the state of New Jersey announced that it faces a $1.1 billion budget shortfall. The state is cutting benefits to poor families and municipalities in hopes of closing the gap and New Jersey is operating with its “rainy day fund” at a historic low.
3. Stop the A/C vents in the Northport Veterans Affairs hospital from “spewing grit:” Trump has made a great fuss over his support of veterans — although he had to be shamed into meeting his obligations to some veterans’ groups — and one way he could show that support would be to contribute to the modernization and revitalization of our veterans’ healthcare system.
Thielman pointed to Long Island’s Northport 502-bed Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center, where the ventilation system is so antiquated that it reportedly “spews grit into surgical areas,” posing a grave threat to patient health.
“Budget shortfalls for VA construction projects across the entire nation are less than two-thirds of Trump’s tax writeoff: $582m,” Thielman noted.
4. Build the Donald J Trump terminal at a ‘third world’ US airport: At last week’s presidential debate, Trump lamented the state of our nation’s airports, calling them “third world” and comparing them unfavorably to the facilities in oil-rich nations like Dubai.
“Our airports are like from a third world country,” Trump said. “You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible — you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land — we’ve become a third world country.”
Thielman noted that LaGuardia Airport in New York City would take approximately $4 billion and $5.3 billion to renovate, which Trump’s $916 million wouldn’t cover completely, but “it’s probably enough to get his name on the international terminal.”
5. Close the New Jersey Transit budget gap 20 times over: Last week, a commuter train plowed into a Hoboken terminal crowded with commuters, killing one woman and injuring more than 100 other people. The train was not yet equipped with safety technology that would have slowed the train down before it could jump the tracks. New Jersey has stated that it wants to modernize its transit system, but a $45 million budget shortfall has slowed the process to a standstill.
“Trump’s tax writeoff, diminished additionally by help from his pal Chris Christie, could have closed the gap 20 times and still left him with enough change to splurge on Steve Miller’s 38-acre estate,” said Thielman.
6. Save the IRS: The Internal Revenue Commission faced rounds of staff layoffs in 2015 after a $1.2 billion budget cut. The agency is struggling to function, said the organization’s public advocate Nina Olson.
“If the IRS lacks adequate funding to do its job effectively, the government will have fewer dollars available to fund all federal programs,” Olson said in a 2013 report to Congress, “including national defense, social security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, medical research, and disaster relief — or simply to reduce the deficit.”
7. Build that wall with Mexico: Thielman is being facetious here, since an actual border wall would cost an estimated $25 billion to construct. Trump’s $916 million “would be worth about 3.66% of the total bill to American taxpayers,” he said.
Raw Story would like to add that the nation could nearly double the amount of funding allocated to fighting the Zika virus with Trump’s unpaid taxes. Last week the House and Senate approved the release of $1.1 billion to health agencies and researchers in the fight against the virus.