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Show Me The Money! Freeing Up State Budgets By Ending Wasteful Corporate Giveaways

We often hear right-wing figures complain about shared priorities that we supposedly cannot afford, like retirement security for working people. Today, two major reports are out exposing the hypocrisy and true motives behind those claims.

In "Putting State Pension Costs in Context," Good Jobs First reports that in 10 states considering cuts to their public workers' retirement incomes, corporate interests are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in special tax breaks and subsidies -- if not billions. For those seeking ways to free up money in state budgets, look no further than these corporate giveaways. They are often marketed to the public as "job creating" measures, but as ordinary families know too well, there are still too few jobs and too little growth in their paychecks but a whole lot of corporate profits.

In a similar vein, U.S. PIRG reports in "Closing The Billion Dollar Loophole" that corporations are using complicated gimmicks to stash their U.S. earnings in offshore tax havens -- not just encouraging American jobs to be sent overseas, but siphoning badly needed revenue away from both the federal government and state governments. As a result, our shared investments in America's future are losing out on the funding it needs.

The good news, as the U.S. PIRG report points out, is that the states are taking already taking action in response. Montana and Oregon, most notably, have enacted laws to rein in the offshore tax haven abuse and to reclaim the tax revenue that rightfully belongs on American shores.

Yet there's much more that can be done and in more states. So, given the ongoing public debate about true fiscal responsibility and doing right by the Americans who keep our country and states running, here's to hoping that the remaining states will take note. Ultimately, the budget decisions we make should reflect our values and priorities as a people, and the reports show that we do have the resources to do just that.