SOURCE: Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Democrats and Republicans from New York and throughout Congress united Tuesday to rally against the European Union for trying to tax Apple.
The EU’s executive commission ruled Tuesday that the computer company owes Ireland $13 billion Euros (roughly $14.5 billion) in back taxes, and it ordered Ireland to collect. The Irish government had given Apple a large tax break, charging just 50 Euros for every million Euros in profit, in exchange for Apple moving its head office there. But the office through which Apple funneled its profits had “no employees, no premises, no real activities,” the commission said.
The U.S. Treasury Department has criticized big companies in the past for officially leaving the U.S. to avoid taxes, but on Tuesday it said the EU’s attempt to collect was a grave overreach.
So did New York’s senior U.S. senator, Charles Schumer, who is in line to become Senate majority leader.
“This is a cheap money grab by the European Commission, targeting U.S. businesses and the U.S. tax base,” Schumer said, a quote that reverberated widely in the international media. He argued that taxing Apple like this prevents it from investing that money in the U.S.
The North Country’s Republican first-term congresswoman, Rep. Elise Stefanik of Willsboro, agreed with the veteran New York City Democrat.
“Congresswoman Stefanik believes that this is a bad decision and that an unprecedented judgment like this will kill jobs,” said her spokesman Tom Flanagin.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who helped launch Stefanik’s career by hiring her as a debate coach and policy advisor in his 2012 vice presidential bid, was, like Schumer, a prominent voice against the move to tax Apple.
“This decision is awful,” Ryan stated. “Slamming a company with a giant tax bill - years after the fact - sends exactly the wrong message to job creators on both sides of the Atlantic.”
New York’s other senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, did not comment on the matter because she had been fully briefed on it yet, according to her spokesman Marc Brumer.
No comment was available from Mike Derrick of Peru, Stefanik’s Democratic opponent in the November election.
Matt Funiciello, Stefanik’s Green Party opponent from Glens Falls, said “Ireland’s been a tax haven for Apple and Microsoft and other international corporations for a very long time.” He said he’s long been “disgusted” by that and is glad Apple is being forced to pay its fair share of taxes, but he questioned whether the European Commission should have the authority to make such decisions. He also worried that the U.S. is giving up more sovereignty to trade tribunals with deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
He said the increasing complication of tax laws and deals benefits those who can hire experts to manipulate them.
“This kind of stuff is getting ridiculous,” Funiciello said.
“In the end, a company that was uniquely American does what every other company does” by dodging taxes, he added.
Schumer’s Republican opponent, Wendy Long of New York City, said the U.S. should lower its corporate tax rates across the board so companies don’t have to go overseas to avoid them.
“Schumer could have taken the lead on lowering U.S. corporate tax rates at any time during the last six years,” she wrote in an email Thursday. “But he likes high marginal rates so he can engage in corporate cronyism and pay for play. That’s what he does. Give special breaks to his favored few with influence. He is just commenting now because the EU beat him.”
Apple has given $79,925 to Schumer’s campaign fund this election cycle through June 27, according to OpenSecrets.org, the website of the Center for Responsive Politics. He is the company’s third-highest recipient of donations, after Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Ryan is fifth, receiving $46,150.
Apple has also given Gillibrand $5,460 this election cycle, $1,000 to Stefanik, $200 to Derrick and none to Long or Funiciello.
© Copyright 2016 Adirondack Daily Enterprise. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
View Full Article as seen on Adirondack Daily Enterprise.