A groundbreaking report released today by the Public Accountability Initiative in partnership with the National Fuel Accountability Coalition and 99% New York demonstrates that for the past three years National Fuel has been using corporate tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share in income taxes. Since 2009, National Fuel has avoided more than $400 million in taxes that they should owe based on their $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits, and is paying income tax rates far lower than rates paid by Western New York families.
The report also indicates that National Fuel paid no federal income taxes over the past two years, and actually received a $63 million combined income tax rebate last year. “I pay my taxes. Three years ago, National Fuel cut off my gas for $25. I am outraged that I am paying for National Fuel’s $63 million income tax rebate.” said Brenda Miller of PUSH Buffalo.
“National Fuel is paying just 5 top executives more than it pays in state and federal income taxes combined,” said Kevin Connor, co-director of the Public Accountability Initiative, which authored the report. “That’s a raw deal for the 99.99% of Western New Yorkers who don’t count themselves among National Fuel’s chosen few, but rely on public services that are getting slashed as a result of this kind of tax dodging.”
While people in Buffalo have been getting laid off and shut off, National Fuel has been raking in massive profits. Today, community members gathered to call on National Fuel to stop selling the community short and build a partnership around solutions to the crisis of high gas bills. Weatherization would lower gas bills, save energy and create green jobs. Because of the efforts of National Fuel Accountability Coalition, there is more money for weatherization than before.
“National Fuel hasn’t invested a dime of their own money in weatherization, nor will they work with us to create a clear access point for people who need weatherization. We don’t want tax dodging, we want a community partnership!” said Julie Boody from the National Fuel Accountability Coalition.
Following the press conference, group members visited state legislators to ask them to close corporate tax loopholes. Assembly bill A5591 would recapture $1.6 billion in corporate taxes. As chair of the Business Council of New York State, National Fuel CEO David F. Smith has vowed increased political spending to fight sensible reform – and ensure that the system remains rigged in his favor.
“This is not a budget crisis, it’s a revenue crisis. Instead of closing the budget by cutting public services like education, healthcare, and transportation that make our community strong, big corporations like National Fuel should pay their fair share,” said Dr. Nicole Jowsey from Citizen Action.