Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 23, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Tax breaks: The hypocritical stance of Microsoft and other big companies

The Seattle Times editorial “Extend data center tax breaks” [Opinion, May 19) expresses support for tax breaks to Microsoft and Boeing. It implies that wage earners, not shareholders, should pay the costs of government.

As you point out, our Legislature and governor granted Boeing an $8.7 billion tax break for fear Boeing would abandon its factories and skilled labor here to build new facilities and train a new workforce elsewhere. After our government agreed that we taxpayers should subsidize Boeing, the company said it would build its new airplanes here, but then announced its moving many of its engineers. Meanwhile, at the federal level, Boeing pays no income tax and, last year, received a $2 billion tax refund.

Back to Microsoft. The Times writes about “the synergy of hundreds of firms and thousands of talented workers,” but Microsoft discounts that synergy. What’s important, it says, is taxes, an area where Washington is “uncompetitive.” At other times, Microsoft complains that Washington does not provide a labor pool that is trained enough for its needs. Yet it calls the requirement that the company contribute to the cost of that training, “uncompetitive.” Instead of paying taxes here in Washington, Microsoft asks the federal government for visas so they can hire foreign workers.

You urge lawmakers to “take a pragmatic view,” which you define as giving tax breaks to big business. Are tax breaks really pragmatic? It’s hard to know. What we do know about tax breaks is that they’re shortsighted.

Charles Davis, Seattle

Comments | More in Business | Topics: Boeing, Charles Davis, data centers

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►