by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
If we learned one thing during this short session, it’s that loopholes and special tax treatments are not going away quietly. Take the film flam film credit. Please. And can we make historical preservation credits a thing of the past? Grants are better than credits embedded in the tax code, but the best solution is to do away with them entirely. And here’s another thing, it’s just as bad at the federal level, as this New York Times piece explains:
According to a study of scores of Fortune 500 companies released this year by Mr. McIntyre’s group and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the average tax rate from 2008 to 2012 on utility, gas and electric companies was 2.8 percent. The rate for the industrial machinery sector was 4.3 percent, while the telecommunications industry averaged 9.8 percent. For the aerospace and military industry, it was 19.7 percent. Dozens of corporations including Verizon, Boeing and Corning paid the government absolutely nothing.
Lobbyists for various interest groups have become experts at tax jujitsu, using the push for a full-scale overhaul by supporters against them. The view that nothing should be fixed until everything can be fixed has repeatedly derailed efforts to eliminate even the most deplored loopholes.