Morning Fizz

City Says It Can't Disclose Recipients of Tax Breaks

Tax breaks and Trump.

By Josh Feit December 9, 2015

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 1. Last week, you’ll remember, I reported that the city was getting rid of its square footage tax, a charge the city levied on companies that sought a partial exemption from the gross receipts tax.

The city estimated we’d only lose about $2 million by acquiescing to the corporate exemption, but given this year’s budget fight to find an extra $2 million for emergency homeless services, the MIA money is clearly nothing to scoff at.

As a follow-up, I asked the city to provide the names of the companies that were skipping out on paying their full gross receipts tax bill. The mayor’s budget director, Ben Noble, and the city’s chief economist, Glenn Lee, told me the information wasn’t subject to public disclosure law because company details like that are proprietary.

That’s true. It wasn’t until last year that the national Governmental Accounting Standards Board amended its rules to require state and local governments to even report how much they lose to corporate tax breaks.

Hailing the overdue update, the government and corporate accountability group Good Jobs First, simultaneously groused: “Among the shortcomings Good Jobs First is disappointed about: no company-specific recipient disclosure (not even major recipient disclosure); no disclosure of how many tax-break agreements are behind the aggregate program cost figures (or how many new agreements were entered into during the reporting year); and no future-year cost reporting (even though such data is routinely embedded in development agreements and legislative authorizations).”


2. Two things about Donald Trump’s foray into fascism.

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First, none other than GOP hero Ronald Reagan oversaw the national rebuke of the Japanese internment disgrace; Trump turned to the WWII-era policy as his defense.

Reagan signed a formal government apology in 1988, paying $1.6 billion in reparations to nearly 100,000 Japanese families. The Reagan-era law (initiated, of course, by Jimmy Carter in 1980) called Japanese internment "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

Second, does he have a simultaneous plan to go after right wing terrorists, like the Colorado Springs shooter? 

More people have been killed by white, right wing terrorists than by Islamic radicals in the U.S. in homegrown terrorism since 2001—not to mention killed in shooting sprees in general like Sandy Hook.

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