Close the offshore-tax loophole

Though some in our midst may disagree, we applaud California State Treasurer Phil Angelides’ attempts at reining in those 18 multinational companies that do business in the state but avoid paying taxes by establishing offshore headquarters on island paradises like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Some say Democrat Angelides’ efforts were pure partisan politics because he came to town to press state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, to change his vote on legislation to close that loophole, which drains the state’s coffers of an estimated $10 million per year. Sure, with a deficit of $38 billion, that lost revenue looks like chump change. But it’s the principle of the matter that calls for state government action.

Those 18 companies are purposely shirking their responsibility, and in doing so shifting an ever-growing tax burden onto the average working Californian. Since the passage of Prop. 13, the property tax reduction bill, corporations’ share of the state tax burden has continued to decrease while the workers’ share has continued to escalate.

Aanestad’s excuse that this is just another effort by the Democrats to raise taxes is neither fair nor true. These are taxes that have long existed, but ones that these companies have decided they are simply not going to pay. The state taxes are the price of doing business and making a profit in this state.

The treasurer’s stop in Chico last week was simply the latest step in Angelides’ efforts, launched more than a year ago, to crack down on these less-than-patriotic companies. We urge Aanestad to see past his reactionary view of taxes and do the right thing before more companies join these ex-patriots in paradise.