As I was researching Microsoft’s Washington State tax breaks, I realized that the company’s cumulative revenues surpassed $1 trillion this past quarter. You might expect a company to announce a milestone like this and bask in this incredible accomplishment — but not Microsoft. It chose to stay silent as it faces increased public scrutiny for holding $108.3 billion in earnings offshore (an incredible 41% of its all time profit) and its history of tax dodging at home in Washington State.
As Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat expressed shock that Boeing’s tax breaks saved it $304 million last year, I noted that the legislature’s actions here are saving Microsoft approximately $776 million in 2016 (I’ve been reporting on Microsoft’s Nevada-based tax dodge since 2004.)
According to my data, Apple surpassed $1 trillion in revenue 2015 but selling pricier hardware has given it a historical advantage. Still, Apple’s cumulatively earned only $261.6 billion in profit to Microsoft’s $265.2 billion. Google’s earned $96.3 billion cumulatively.
Amazon, Washington State’s other star, has more than a half trillion in revenue, $545 billion but noticeably only $3.31 billion in profit. From the strictest capitalist standpoint, all its efforts and success have yielded little for shareholders. It’s been kind of a net failure.
Washington State: Libertarian Promised Land
- Don’t have enough money to pay for education. The state supreme court has held the legislature in contempt over its failure to adequately fund schools.
- We have the country’s fourth worst traffic. Our citywide light rail plan is not yet approved and at least 25 years away.
- We have record homelessness, a heroin epidemic and a wave of unaffordable housing.
- We have a spike in violent crime and unsolved murders but can’t afford to hire more police.
- Our incredible native orcas and salmon remain endangered.
- We have an untreated nuclear waste facility which continues to have severe leaks.
- And we lack the funds to build enough public restrooms for Amazon’s abundance of male programmers
Nicely done Bill and Jeff.
Update: Thank you for the widespread coverage of this story: Slashdot, CNet, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, Time, et al. Aside from the alternative Stranger, other Seattle news organizations remain silent: no mention from The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, Crosscut, KUOW, etc.