Mayor Soglin on avoiding fiscal cliff - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Mayor Soglin on avoiding fiscal cliff: Close offshore tax loopholes

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With the deadline for Congress to make a decision on the so-called fiscal cliff, politicians from all levels are commenting on how Washington lawmakers can avoid it.

On Thursday, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, along with the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG), pointed out what they say is a clear first step to avoid the fiscal cliff. They say the step it so close offshore tax loopholes.

"Let's understand, that fixing the tax loopholes for the wealthy, by providing responsible taxes for revenues, for the federal government, we are going to take a significant step in making this a better nation, a stronger nation," Mayor Soglin said.

WISPIRG says that many of America's largest corporations and wealthiest individuals use accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. WISPIRG says that tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue each year. 

"When corporations exploit offshore tax loopholes to skip out of paying their bill, the rest of us are left to pick up their tab in the form of higher taxes, cuts to key public services, or escalating national debt," Joe Rasmussen, Program Associate for WISPIRG, said. "Right now, this kind of tax dodging is perfectly legal, but it's not fair and it's time to put an end to it."

On Thursday, WISPIRG released 16 specific ways the money lost each year to tax havens could be spent. The fact sheet is titled, "What America Could Do With $150 Billion Lost to Tax Havens." You can view it by clicking here.

"There are some tough budget decisions ahead, but closing the offshore tax loopholes that let large companies shift their tax burden to the rest of us should be an easy one," Rasmussen said.

If an agreement from Congress isn't reached by the end of the year, it would result in automatic tax increases and drastic spending cuts.

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