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‘OUR Marysville’ calls on bank to support local schools
MARYSVILLE — Area protestors once again took to the streets and sidewalks in front of a Marysville branch of a bank chain to object to tax practices that they believe unfairly benefit such banks.
Members of “OUR Marysville” — with “OUR” standing for “Organization United for Reform” — marched in front of the closed doors of the Marysville branch of the JPMorgan Chase Bank on June 24, calling for Chase to use part of a $1.4 billion tax refund to help fund the Marysville School District.
Joshua Watler, executive director of “OUR Washington,” explained that Chase is on the verge of claiming this $1.4 billion by acquiring Washington Mutual, to whom the refund was due. He and his fellow protestors presented a “bill” for $5 million to employees of the Marysville Chase branch to fund programs that have been diminished or discontinued in the Marysville School District due to state and federal budget cuts.
“Chase doesn’t pay their fair share in taxes in Washington state,” protestor Sara Leinen said. “Marysville schools are being cut by $5 million this year. What do we tell our kids?”
“This means higher class sizes, cuts to staff and teachers, and little to no music and arts in our schools,” said fellow protestor Melissa Stone, who arrived in a wheelchair. “Chase will also receive tens of millions for not paying Washington state taxes. Chase lobbies for the two-thirds majority vote so that it can keep this tax loophole from getting vetoed by the government. Chase lobbies every day against my family, our schools and our state.”
OUR Marysville member Crystal Blanco has children attending Sunnyside Elementary and Marysville-Pilchuck High School, and contrasted Chase’s tax rebate with the unemployment, foreclosures, and spending cuts in education and healthcare facing many Washington families.
“In the past five years, Chase has shortchanged Washington taxpayers out of $2.6 million in fees as a result of failing to record mortgage sales with local governments,” Blanco said. “Since Chase took over WaMu here in Washington state, small business loans from the bank have plummeted 98 percent, and Chase refuses to modify mortgages for homeowners in distress. Foreclosures are at an all-time high, and Chase Bank is not willing to work with families to keep them from losing their homes.”
Blanco echoed Stone’s condemnation of Chase’s “corporate greed,” which prompted Stone to request that Phyllis Campbell, head of Chase Bank’s northwest region, step up and do the right thing.” The Marysville branch of Chase Bank allowed customers in and out during the protest, but did not allow the protestors inside, although Marysville Chase employees spoke with protestors about their concerns. Those employees deferred to Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot, who handles media relations for Chase, to comment to the press.
“As a bank serving consumers and businesses and as a corporate citizen, we play an active role in our community,” Donahoe-Wilmot said, after being presented with the protestors’ objections. “Last year, JPMorgan Chase gave over $11.4 million to non-profits in Washington state.”
OUR Marysville is currently coordinating a community town hall meeting July 6 at 6 p.m. in Jennings Memorial Park, located at 6915 Armar Rd., to discuss these and other tax practices and educational funding issues with local and state elected officials. State representatives Kirk Pearson and John McCoy, and state Sen. Nick Harper, have confirmed their attendance.