For the past two weeks, the Yes on 97 team has been handing out gold medals for bad corporate behavior, and some of the world’s best known corporations made the list.
In our first face-off, Monsanto took the gold medal for pollution. While Monsanto’s long history of environmental misdeeds isn’t exactly a secret, the company’s behavior in Oregon has been particularly appalling. Earlier this year, Portland became the eighth American city to file suit against Monsanto for its pattern of favoring “profits over ecological and human health,” particularly when it came to developing cancer-causing PCBs. To add insult to injury, Monsanto didn’t just make the carcinogens that polluted Oregon waterways — it also contributed to the $1 billion cleanup bill that taxpayers were made to pay.
Next up was Comcast, which snagged the gold medal for unpaid Oregon taxes. When it comes to paying its taxes, Comcast likes to play poor: The company currently owes a staggering $120 million in Oregon taxes alone. Apparently, Comcast has plenty of money to spare, so long as it doesn’t go towards funding public services — it’s one of the top contributors to Measure 97’s corporate-backed opposition.
With billions of dollars stashed offshore, Procter & Gamble took home a medal in offshored profits. Just like Comcast, P&G will do whatever it can to avoid paying its fair share in taxes, but still has money to burn in terms of political contributions — the company has also spent big to oppose Measure 97.
Koch Industries’ complete disregard for the environment earned it a gold medal for worst environmental practices: In just a single year, one Koch-owned corporation released over a million pounds of toxic chemicals into Oregon’s environment. What’s worse, a single Koch paper mill in Toledo, Oregon generated 900 tons of carbon dioxide per employee — to put that in perspective, Intel generates just 10 tons per employee.
Moving on from pollution and onto taxes, PricewaterhouseCoopers took home the final gold for helping big corporations dodge their taxes. PwC is known for promoting tax avoidance on an “industrial scale,” and it’s made billions of dollars doing so. That’s why it’s no surprise that opponents to Measure 97 have hired the firm to help big corporations continue to avoid their fair share here in Oregon.
The Corporate Games have come to a close, but there’s one last “award” to hand out: a gold medal for Oregon’s dead last corporate taxes. Once again, getting the gold is nothing to brag about — big and out-of-state corporations pay lower corporate taxes here than anywhere else in the country, and everyday Oregonians are paying the price. Measure 97 is our opportunity to change that. By the time the next Olympics roll around, let’s make sure that Oregon’s schools and services are getting the gold — and that those gold medals are something to be proud of.