BENTON HARBOR, MI— The question is: should Whirlpool pay taxes and water bills? Benton Harbor residents must pay taxes and water bills. Why shouldn’t Whirlpool, with its annual 2012 corporate sales of $12 billion, pay?
Whirlpool is headquartered in Benton Harbor but it does NOT pay any taxes or water bills to Benton Harbor.
Recently, Benton Harbor City Commissioners voted 5-3 to reject Benton Harbor’s Emergency Manager’s deficit elimination plan, which includes a $2.3 million loan from the state which the city is forced to borrow to pay their bills. Commissioner Marcus Muhammad said he could not support the city taking on more debt. “You can’t cut your way out and you can’t borrow your way out of debt,” he said. These are two basic principles of finance.
Mayor James Hightower and City Commissioners Duane Seats and Sharon Henderson, all strong Whirlpool supporters, want the city of Benton Harbor to take out a $2.3 million dollar loan so Whirlpool will not have to pay their fair share of taxes and water bills. These three were the only ones to support this $2.3 million loan. They did NOT support the city income tax (on the ballot in November, 2013) which would have produced $3.5 million to pay off the city’s debt, and forced the corporations to pay a fair share. Benton Harbor residents must now pay this debt.
In addition, Whirlpool is collecting so many tax credit’s that it may never have to pay taxes (but you and I must pay.) Bloomberg News reported that Whirlpool has more than “$550 million in stockpiled business tax credits” that can be used to offset its future income or taxes. This is at the expense of the people. This deal gets sweeter. The tax credits can be carried over from year to year for the next twenty years.
Whirlpool should pay taxes. Whirlpool is among the wealthiest, greediest corporations in the world. Somebody needs to ask the Whirlpool Corporation and Mayor Hightower how they can sleep at night. Mayor Hightower continues to support and enable the greed at Whirlpool at the expense of Benton Harbor residents. Because of his corporate collusion, he joins all of the giant corporations who are directly responsible for the severe poverty in the city of Benton Harbor .
When you give power to the corporations and government, it will be used for whatever they want, not for what the people want.