Jeff writes, "Combined, Washington State is providing Microsoft and Boeing $1 billion annually in tax breaks. Cumulatively, Microsoft's state tax has saved its shareholders $8.6 billion in costs. While the company quietly surpassed $1 trillion in all time revenue, its home state faces emergencies in education funding, homelessness, heroin addiction and escalating crime."
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been an outspoken advocate for education and the less fortunate among us. With Microsoft's cumulative state tax savings, Washington state could have funded the entire McCleary education settlement for five years, Gates' own initiative for forty state charter schools and restored almost all of the $961 million cut from the University of Washington's annual budgets since 2009.
With just a small portion of its tax savings from this year, we could easily double Seattle's city budget for emergency efforts to address the sharp rises in homelessness, heroine addiction and crime.
Or, the funds could cover 17 percent of the $50 billion cost for Seattle's 25 year public transit initiative, ST3, saving taxpayers significantly.
Westneat mentions, "our booming aerospace and high-tech sectors combined paid just 3 percent of all state business taxes…the result…of decades of special deals won by lobbyists in Olympia…" and Washington state is the third highest ranked state in the country for tax subsidies. At a federal level, Microsoft holds more than $108 billion offshore, avoiding $35 billion in additional corporate taxes.