New York City Community leaders were arrested Tuesday during a non-violent civil disobedience action to protest what organizers say is Verizon’s tax-dodge while “advocating tax cuts for big corporations and budget cuts for the poor and middle class” using the coalition through which it advocates called “Fix the Debt.”
The protest was outside Verizon’s New York headquarters at 140 West Street at the West Side Highway.
Protest organizers say Verizon is one example of why Congress needs to crack down on tax dodging corporations, not public services. The event was part of a national week of “Corporate Evil Outing” happening across the country.
“It’s time to shut down corporate tax subsidies, not Head Start programs, HIV/AIDS housing assistance and food pantries,” said Carl Stubbs, a VOCAL-NY leader from Queens who was among those arrested. “We need to send a message to elected officials that it’s time to stand with families instead of Wall Street and big corporations in the upcoming budget showdown.”
In mere weeks, Congress is set to debate the budget, with many advocating for a full-on government shutdown to force through more devastating cuts to services. The demonstration was meant to draw attention to the corporate interests controlling the debate through their allies in Congress, cutting backroom deals that benefit their bottom line while pushing cuts to schools, healthcare and other public services, organizers say.
From 2008-2012, Verizon received federal tax subsidies of $7.3 billion, organizers say. If the company had paid its fair share in taxes, organizers say the amount could have: hired 30,676 teachers; provided 1.9 million kids with immunizations; enrolled 224,156 kids in Head Start; provided Medicaid to 1,077,491 people; or, hired 156,441 first responders.
While advocating for cuts to Social Security through Fix the Debt, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has retirement and pension funds totaling $8.7 million, protest organizers say.
In addition to New York nine other cities are participating in a national week of action outing corporate tax dodgers across the country and calling on them to pay their fair share. Corporations targeted include Verizon, GE, Bank of America, and Macy’s.
The following groups were involved in the protest: VOCAL-NY, National People’s Action, ALIGN, Community Voices Heard, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, and others.
This week’s actions are part of an ongoing campaign by economic and racial justice group National People’s Action and their affiliates to stop brutal budget cuts harming America’s most vulnerable—from seniors to veterans and from low-income communities to people of color, organizers say.
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