FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oregon Consumers Ask Department of Revenue to “Stop the Comcast Con”
(PORTLAND) — The Oregon Consumer League and a coalition of consumer and tax policy organizations are joining together to protect Oregon taxpayers and prevent Comcast from creating a loophole to win a multi-million dollar tax break it doesn’t deserve. The cable TV, internet, and phone service giant is attempting to use a wildly expensive high-speed internet service to qualify for a tax break designed for providers of affordable high-speed internet.
In 2015, Comcast lobbied for and won passage of Senate Bill 611, a package of telecom tax breaks that included a property tax break designed specifically for Comcast. Instead of taking the break it requested, Comcast instead applied for a different tax break meant to incentivize affordable, high-speed internet. Comcast developed a premium-cost, limited internet service that it claims makes the company eligible for the multi-million dollar savings. The service in question has been described as so expensive, few can afford it.
The Department of Revenue (DOR) rejected Comcast’s initial application, and the company has since appealed. The Coalition for Corporate Responsibility, which includes Tax Fairness Oregon, is asking the DOR to uphold its decision to reject Comcast’s unearned tax break. Additionally, Comcast is currently holding an estimated $100 million in overdue taxes while a lawsuit against the DOR remains in court.
Shamus Lynsky, Executive Director of the Oregon Consumer League, said that awarding a multi-million dollar tax break to Comcast would be unfair to Oregonians. “Comcast is attempting to stiff consumers and taxpayers by trying to dodge tens of millions of dollars in taxes by providing a service that few, if any, Oregonians can access. That’s money that would otherwise go toward state and local schools, health care and public safety. Comcast made $8.2 billion in profits last year. The company doesn’t need any more subsidies from Oregonians.”
The director of the Department of Revenue is currently reviewing Comcast’s appeal and should make a final decision by August 1, 2016.
To learn more about the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility and the campaign to stop Comcast from receiving this hefty tax break, visit www.oregonconsumerleague.org/coalition-corporate-responsibility.