Long Island Progressive Coalition holds rally on economic fairness.
By: Deirdre Burns
Protestors in Massapequa Park want Verizon to give them better reception on the issue of corporate responsibility.
Several dozen people held a rally outside the Verizon store in Massapequa Park Thursday claiming the phone company is pocketing large profits without paying a fair amount of tax.
The Long Island Progressive Coalition, which sponsored the rally, say they’ve conducted research indicating Verizon made $33.4 billion in profits from 2008 to 2010, but only paid 2.6 percent in New York State income tax.
The average family of four earning $58,000 paid 4.8 percent in taxes during that same time, according to Lisa Tyson, the director of LIPC.
Tyson argues that this type of tax difference is unfair to hard working families who are struggling every day to make ends meet. With the state at a budget deficit and public funding for schools and health care at risk, Tyson says the problem could easily be solved if the big corporations pay a fair amount in taxes instead of benefitting from tax loop holes.
“At the same time their CEOs are making $8,750 per hour,they’re trying to cut the workers’ salaries and health care,” Tyson said. “They pay absorbent salaries to their top people and the workers suffer. But it’s not just [Verizon]. Other corporations are just as guilty. We are going to be releasing information from other corporations, but this is definitely one. They are one of the dirty dozen.”
The LIPC, which is Massapequa-based, is a grass roots organization dedicated to promoting economic justice.
The protesters were greeted with several drivers honking their horns as they passed by. Tyson said she was able to get the support at the rally in about 24 hours via email blasts and word of mouth to the community through the members of LIPC.
“It’s a good thing to see people passing by and honking their horns in solidarity,” she said. “People care. They want to solve this.”
Hendrick Fayette, one of those attending the rally said it was important to show support for fairness and change.
“We are in need of all hands on deck when it comes to taxes…now big corporations like Verizon and their CEOs are bankrolling our government through campaign contributions and through lobbying,” said Fayette, who is also member of the Long Island Minority Aid Coalition. “They spend millions of dollars in lobbying to get their legislation and their loopholes in writing that is prohibiting us from getting our fair share.”
Verizon spokesman John Bonomo, called LIPC’s claims on the company not paying their fair share of taxes “erroneous.”
“Verizon fully complies with all tax laws and pays its fair share of taxes,” he said. “In 2010, our state and local income tax liability was nearly $275 million. In addition to these income taxes, Verizon pays other state and local taxes, such as property taxes, taxes on gross receipts, franchise taxes, payroll taxes and right-of-way fees. In the five years from 2006-2010, in state and federal income taxes alone, Verizon paid out more than $7.5 billion.”