Last Week at Revenue and Tax Committee at Utah State Capitol
DABAKIS: The Legislature and Governor just gave multinational manufacturers, mining companies and internet portal corporations an annual $80 million dollar tax break bonanza. Can you tell me which companies just won the lottery?
CHAIR OF THE STATE TAX COMMISSION: No Senator, I cannot give you that information. It is against state law to disclose that. The state respects the privacy of the corporations involved.
DABAKIS: (Exasperatedly) So, a few companies came in with a flock of $500 an hour lobbyists, an ALEC playbook and legally they grabbed from state coffers $80 million dollars a year. The three-headed partnership among legislators, lobbyists and the companies is a dark secret kabuki dance. Legislators walk away with campaign contributions, the lobbyists get rich and the companies get $80 million dollars a year in booty. To add a little more salt to wounds, the winners get total anonymity.
Commissioner, you are telling me that the taxpayers have no right to know who was just handed $80 million dollars? Do you think the right to privacy of the companies outweighs the right of taxpayers to know who is getting the handout?
REV and TAX COMMITTEE: That's the law.
DABAKIS: The law is an ass. If some giant manufacturers want corporate welfare from the pockets of state taxpayers--they should be forced to waive their privacy rights. Corporations should choose: take the cash or the keep your privacy, NOT BOTH.
Hummm, wonder why the legislature and Governor want to keep the beneficiaries of their largess secret?