Protestors accuse Bank of America of not paying their fair share of taxes

MARYSVILLE — More than 50 protestors from around Snohomish County converged on the Marysville branch of Bank of America to call out what they saw as taxation inequities.

On this year's tax deadline, April 18, residents of Marysville, Arlington, Everett and beyond carried signs and shouted slogans on State Avenue, at the intersections of Fourth and Fifth avenues, accusing Bank of America and other corporations of not paying their fair share of taxes.

"When's the last time you had a lawyer write a law just for you?" asked Mario Brown of Everett. "It's not about deficits. It's not about surpluses. It's about fairness. The people who have more money use that money to find ways to keep that money, but they're still using the roads and fire service and military that are paid for by taxes. We need to make them pay."

Marysville resident Joy Currie helped organize the local demonstration as part of MoveOn's nationwide "Make Them Pay" tax day event.

"Events similar to the one in Marysville are taking place all over the country targeting the 'Deadbeat Dozen' — GE, Bank of America, Google, BP, Amazon, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Boeing, ExxonMobil, FedEx, Goldman Sachs and Chase — wealthy corporations that are doing everything in their power to avoid paying taxes in America," Currie said. "During these difficult economic times, when all Americans are being asked to sacrifice, it is simply wrong that Bank of America is shirking its American duty to pay its taxes."

Lake Stevens resident Jean Lingelbach echoed Currie's assertion that corporations take advantage of legal loopholes which allow them to skip out of paying taxes.

"They don't pay their taxes," Lingelbach said. "We do. Meanwhile, my husband is retired military and completely disabled, and he's scared of losing his benefits. I'm done with just wringing my hands."

Patrick McGrath, a Vietnam veteran from Arlington, expressed similar concerns that legislators are focusing more on what the protestors branded "corporate welfare" than on serving citizens in need.

"I've never spoken at one of these things before, but I'm so mad my false teeth are shaking," McGrath said. "They're looking to take away my Social Security and union pension. I want my wife to have medical insurance. They won't get these things without a fight."

Marysville resident John Olmstead, whose protest sign criticized Congressional Republicans for their economic policies, likewise believes the burden of taxation is being placed disproportionately on citizens instead of corporations.

"It just ticks me off that I have to pay my taxes and they don't," Olmstead said. "People should pay more attention to the political and business worlds, because what happens in those does affect them."

Britney Sheehan, media relations manager for Bank of America, disputed these claims.

"They're simply not true," Sheehan said. "We take our role as a corporate citizen very seriously."

Sheehan reported that Bank of America paid $2 billion in U.S. taxes in 2010 and paid $40 billion in income tax from 2000 to 2009.

"That's more than any other company," Sheehan said. "We follow all the applicable laws and pay what is owed."

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