The recent natural gas pipeline explosion in West Virginia will eventually be paid by you. The pipeline is run by Columbia Gas, which is a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. The company recently laid off workers to increase profits. Perhaps some of those employees worked on maintenance of the pipeline.
According to the nonpartisan organization, Public Campaign, NiSource made $1.4 billion in profits in 2008-10 and paid no corporate income tax. In fact, they got a rebate of $227 million. That corresponds to a tax rate of 16 percent, or a savings of $717 million if they had been taxed at the 35 percent rate. As a result, executive pay increased 33 percent with the top five executives receiving $11.2 million.
The $1.83 million in lobbying expenses in 2008-10 seem to have been very beneficial for NiSource. With the large losses in income and damages the corporation will get a larger tax rebate this year and guess who pays the rebate? Everyone who pays federal income tax will foot the bill for the explosion. That includes you and me.
The recent debate about raising or lowering the corporate tax rates from 35 percent is the wrong debate. Corporations over the last 30 to 40 years have spent billions on lobbying Congress and state legislators to create large loopholes in the corporate tax code as the tax data from NiSource shows.
The emphasis in Washington, D.C., should be on a simpler, fairer tax code for both individuals and corporations. Bad decisions made by corporations should not be borne by the American taxpayer.