Last updated: August 08. 2014 11:30AM - 94 Views
By Jeremy Wallace



Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:

According to The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune: malfunction at Cedar Point amusement park


A major malfunction on a ride at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky will not be investigated by state inspectors. That should prompt state legislators to amend the law on inspections of rides such as those at carnivals and amusement parks.


Two people were hurt July 26 when a cable on a Cedar Point ride snapped and struck them. One was treated for injuries at the scene. The other had to be taken to a hospital.


But because neither person was admitted to the hospital, the law does not require state inspectors to check the ride. Cedar Point is investigating, and the state Department of Agriculture will have to approve reopening of the ride, however.


One reason for investigating minor accidents is to ensure more serious ones do not occur.


Of course, state inspectors should not be called in whenever someone stubs his toe getting off a carnival ride. But surely some compromise, perhaps requiring inspections when people require treatment of injuries, can be agreed upon.


State legislators should consider such a change.


According to The Des Moines Register: Walgreens turns back on taxpayers


“Is ‘the corner of happy and healthy’ somewhere in the Swiss Alps?” — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in a letter to Walgreens executives


The senator from Illinois borrowed that line from the nationwide drugstore chain’s advertising campaign to poke fun at the company for considering changing its corporate headquarters address to Switzerland to avoid paying federal taxes.


Kidding aside, Durbin and other critics are not happy with Walgreens’ consideration of planting its corporate flag in a foreign country. And for good reason.


While the company will continue to do its business in the United States, make money from American customers and benefit from the government services paid for by other taxpayers, it will dodge corporate taxes in this country by pretending it is a Swiss company.


Walgreens’ move has gotten a lot of attention because the venerable pharmacy chain, founded 113 years ago by Charles Walgreen in Dixon, Illinois, is such a prominent fixture in so many communities across the United States.


But Walgreens’ tactic of acquiring a smaller company overseas to establish its corporate address there has been used by other companies and may be used by more.


This “tax inversion” — or better yet, “tax aversion” — tactic could cost the U.S. treasury nearly $20 billion over the next decade, according to a congressional committee report.


Walgreens can save $4 billion over the five years in federal taxes by taking advantage of this loophole in U.S. tax law.


Just because it is legal, however, doesn’t mean it is right. And it should not be legal.


Corporate taxes have already shrunk from historic levels as a percentage of total collections. Tax critics point out that corporate taxes are simply passed along to customers, but taxes avoided by businesses are paid by other taxpayers.


Some members of Congress have talked about changing tax law to head off this tax-dodging strategy by Walgreens and other companies, but that should be part of a broader rewriting of the federal tax code.


There is a reason why companies in highly competitive industries are desperate to seek foreign tax havens: It’s because the U.S. rates are high in comparison to other countries’ rates. Congress should deal with that disparity to help U.S. companies be competitive globally, but it should do so in a comprehensive tax reform that results in increased overall tax revenue to deal with budget deficits.


President Obama has rightly called inversion an “unpatriotic tax loophole” and has pressed Congress to pass legislation to stop corporations from effectively renouncing their U.S. citizenship to escape paying their fair share in this country. That is exactly what Congress should do. Maybe the public attention being given to Walgreens will prompt them to finally act.


Businesses like Walgreens benefit from operating in the United States. Public money is used to educate their workers and build the roads leading to their stores. When a customer insured by taxpayer-financed Medicare or Medicaid fills a prescription at Walgreens, the rest of us subsidize or pay the entire bill. In fact, a quarter of Walgreens’ $2.5 billion in profits last year was directly connected to a health insurance program funded with federal money.


Yet the company is seeking to scrimp on paying taxes while leaving the rest of us to pay more to fund essential services that make this country a great place to do business. Such a loss in revenue also contributes to our national deficit and debt. How much profit does a company need? How much is enough? And how much will Walgreens lose if American consumers decide to take their business elsewhere?


When it comes to a high-profile, accessible company like Walgreens, average people hold a lot of power. That isn’t always the case. For example, when a company like Medtronic announces plans to establish its headquarters overseas, a patient probably won’t tell his doctor he doesn’t want a certain pacemaker implanted in his chest because the company isn’t a good corporate citizen. Yet, when the doctor writes him a prescription, he can fill it at another pharmacy down the street from Walgreens.


Iowans don’t have to shop at Walgreens to buy toothpaste, cleaning supplies, cigarettes, milk or school supplies either. There are plenty of other stores with headquarters here in the United States.


And now is the time for Iowans to let Walgreens know that if the company moves its headquarters to Europe and refuses to pay its fair share in taxes, those competitors will be getting new customers.


Comments
comments powered by Disqus



Featured Businesses


Poll



Info Minute



Gas Prices

Troy Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com