Saturday, May 20, 2006

Supreme Court Officially Emasculates Taxpayers

In a unanimous decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling that would have invalidated massive taxpayer giveaways to Corporate America. The Supreme Court has long been the victim of a hostile takeover by Big Money interests. It is a court now headed by a corporate lawyer that has repeatedly gone out of its way to protect Corporate America's ability to bleed the middle class dry. Today's ruling, though, is particularly egregious. Not only did the court strike down an important ruling, but it essentially emasculated taxpayers' ability to bring any such lawsuits against their own government in the future.

The details are as shocking as they are disgusting. As the Associated Press reports, "two years ago, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Ohio's tax credit on new equipment, saying the practice hinders interstate commerce because the incentives are available only to businesses that invest in Ohio." In other words, plaintiffs correctly noted the credits are creating a race to the bottom that violate interstate commerce laws by forcing states and cities to compete with each other to give away more and more taxpayer cash to Big Business. In the Ohio case, the tax credit was used to give DaimlerChrysler roughly $300 million in taxpayer cash - cash that Toledo's county auditor says was siphoned away from local schools, forcing the city to close up to nine schools or fire 380 school workers.

In striking down the lower court ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court not only ruled against Ohio taxpayers, but against all taxpayers. Chief Justice John Roberts, formerly a corporate lawyer, said in the official opinion that "State taxpayers have no standing ... to challenge state tax or spending decisions simply by virtue of their status as taxpayers." In other words, not only will the Ohio law remain, but state taxpayers throughout the country now have no legal right to challenge the decisions of their bought-and-paid-for elected officials who are selling off our government to the highest bidder.

Time to stop being a taxpayer?

Link to the Court's Opinion

Link to the Oral Arguments in the case


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