Walmart’s Offshore Tax Havens Hurt Small Businesses That Support Communities

A recent report released by Americans for Tax Fairness exposed Walmart for their evasive tax practices and revealed that the retail giant is holding over 78 billion dollars in offshore subsidiaries. Our members were quick to speak out against these practices and took to the media to make their voices heard.

Matt Birong, owner of 3 Squares Café (a cute and comfortable spot in Vergennes, VT) and member of the Main Street Alliance of Vermont, compared the high road business practices of his company to the extractive economic policies of Walmart and other multinational corporations in his article, featured in The Hill.

“Small businesses like mine are being squeezed by tax policies written for the upper echelon. Even though our revenue sheets look much different than those of the retail giant, we are forced to supplement the income of their employees and absorb a larger share of the tax responsibility,” said Birong.

Kelly Conklin, a member of the Main Street Alliance national executive committee, owner of Foley-Waite cabinets in New Jersey, also weighed in on the issue and spoke about growing his business while supporting his community in his article, featured in the Augusta Free Press.

“Small businesses can’t afford an army of accountants and tax lawyers like Walmart can to create offshore tax-avoidance strategies,” said Conklin. “None of us have shell corporations in Luxembourg. Even if we could pull off such financial shenanigans, I honestly believe most of us wouldn’t want to.”

“We’d rather contribute what we should to the public good and see our communities thrive right alongside our businesses,” said Conklin.

Small business owners already face stiff competition from large corporations, like Walmart, that can execute bulk purchases and drive down prices. The latest tax evasion revelation demonstrates just how far the scales are tipped in favor of big businesses.

Congress can act to rein-in these practices – and our leaders will continue to work to make sure their voices are heard on this issue.

Alliance Cross Training is Vital to Growing the Grassroots

(Post written by Alain Nahimana, posted online by David Fleishman)

Sharing resources between organizations includes putting people on the ground, side-by-side.

It gave me a sense that whether the work we do is statewide or on a federal level, the challenges we face are the same. My name is Alain Nahimana and I am an organizer with Maine People’s Alliance.  A community organizer can work in all environments, not only in his/her comIMG_0283.JPGmunity.

I was joined by a MPA member Sonia Irambona and Grady Burns, canvasser. The three of us were set down in some of Virginia’s toughest turf to canvass for immigration reform. Harold Folley of Virginia Organizing even made sure we had the number for the police handy. These were towns considered hostile, right in the middle of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s district. (Virginia’s 7th District) Read more

Main Street to Microsoft: “Stop offshore tax dodging”

This week, hundreds of Washington state small business owners affiliated with the Main Street Alliance of Washington sent an open letter to Microsoft calling on tech giant to stop offshore tax dodging, the Seattle Times reports.

According to BloombergBusinessweek, Microsoft tops the list of U.S. tech firms with the biggest overseas profit hauls, holding $76 billion in profits stashed offshore.  In their letter, small business owners express their disappointment that Microsoft has joined in coalitions with other big corporate interests lobbying for a permanent tax amnesty on offshore profits – a so-called “territorial” tax system – while backing cuts to Medicare and Social Security that would wreak further havoc on the Main Street economy.

“Small business owners are proud to contribute our fair share. We know that in order to build strong local economies, Read more

Will SEC order a dose of sunlight for corporate political spending?

Mary Jo White, the new Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was recently confirmed to a five-year term that secures her position until 2019. With that kind of job security, Ms. White should be able to rise above the partisan pressures of Washington politics and advance a proactive agenda at the SEC that furthers its mission of protecting investors and promoting transparent, well-functioning markets.

But already, Chair White’s resolve is being put to the test through the debate on a proposed SEC rule that would require disclosure of public companies’ political spending. Read more

From Grape Boycott to Great Buy-cott: Colorado Groups Bring New Spin to Old Idea in Campaign for Immigration Reform

The grape boycotts organized by the United Farm Workers in the late 1960s were part of a groundbreaking strategy to engage consumers in the fight for fair treatment for immigrant farmworkers. Fast forward to 2013, and groups in Colorado campaigning for economy-boosting buy-cott.purpleimmigration reform with a path to citizenship are putting a new spin on a tried and true idea. Instead of a boycott, they’re organizing a “buy-cott” to push immigration reform forward.

The website for the Colorado Statewide Buy-cott explains the basic idea driving the effort: “Vote with your wallet and shop at local businesses that support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship!”

And that’s exactly what residents of Denver, Aurora, Pueblo, Greeley, Longmont, Ft. Morgan, Grand Junction, Durango, Glendwood Springs, Carbondale, Aspen and other cities and towns across Colorado are doing from August 4-10: they’re putting their spending money to work in local businesses whose owners have declared their support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

The statewide buy-cott is a joint effort of a range of Colorado-based groups, including the Colorado Main Street Alliance, Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC), Rights for All People (RAP), Colorado National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Bend the Arc, and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC).

The participating organizations announced the buy-cott with a series of local press events around the state on July 29. The idea has clearly caught on: nearly 400 local businesses across the state have signed on to the effort and put up a poster in their business windows declaring their support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

The buy-cott has generated lots of local press coverage, too, including in major papers like the Denver Post and in smaller local papers and media outlets across the state.

 

The Alliance Hosts Our First National Conference in Baltimore and DC

A week ago, to the day, the Alliance for A Just Society hosted our 2013 Summer Conference with all our national affiliates (#Justice2013). There was no better way to kick it off than taking close to 200 participants into Washington DC and hosting three separate actions on the Hill.

As of this year, we are proud to note the following states affiliated with the Alliance for a Just Society and Main Street Alliance: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, New York, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Maine, Florida, Colorado and Connecticut.

 

State affiliate.Alliance and MainStreet

The morning of July 18 began with The Main Street Alliance hosting a forum on “Too Big To Fail”—addressing the policy conundrum where favors are given to Big Banks at the expense of the common good. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, economist Simon Johnson, and a panel of small business owners and policy experts each spoke of the need for renewed attention to megabank limits in order to stabilize the financial system and support the Main Street economy. Read more

WITH WALL STREET “TOO BIG TO FAIL,” IS MAIN STREET “TOO SMALL TO PREVAIL”?

Small business forum adds Main Street voice to growing momentum for megabank limits

Today, small businesses owners from across the country added a Main Street voice to growing momentum for post-Dodd-Frank measures to end the era of “Too Big to Fail” banking in the lingering wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed.

At a D.C. policy forum organized by the Main Street Alliance, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, economist Simon Johnson, and a panel of small business owners and policy experts each spoke of the need for renewed attention to megabank limits in order to stabilize the financial system and support the Main Street economy. Read more