Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

February 20, 2013

Advocates of fair tax picket in downtown Goshen

GOSHEN — A small but dedicated group of concerned citizens gathered in front of the Verizon store in downtown Goshen Wednesday afternoon to protest what they say is an epidemic of chronic tax dodging being conducted by many of the country’s largest corporations.

According to Jeremy Bernstein, organizer of the Indiana chapter of Americans for Democratic Action, Wednesday’s protest was one of numerous protests staged by ADA chapters in more than 22 states across the country Wednesday. The goal of the protests, he said, was to shine light on mega-corporations that aren’t paying their fair share in taxes, and to draw public attention to the wide-spread damage that could occur if the across-the-board tax cuts known as the sequester are allowed to take affect this March.

The Verizon location was chosen for Wednesday’s protest because the company is one of the 30 largest tax evaders in the country, according to Bernstein.

“We feel like they should be paying their fair share,” Bernstein said. “And with this sequester looming, we’ve got to close these loopholes so companies like Verizon, like GE and Wells Fargo are required to pay the same percentage in taxes as everyone else.”

Officials with the Verizon Corporate Office in New York did not immediately respond to a message Wednesday seeking comment.

Bernstein said the local branch of ADA had a similar protest in South Bend on Wednesday and met with a representative of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly to air their concerns over the impending sequester. The group decided to head to Goshen to help show people that the sequester and unfair tax practices affect everyone, everywhere. There were six protesters present in Goshen.

“I’m actually from Goshen, and we knew that the Verizon store is located right on Main Street, so we thought it would be a good place to get people’s attention,” Bernstein said. “Our goal really is just to draw people’s attention to the fact that this sequester is going to affect everyone, and they may not realize that the corporations are evading taxes the way they are. They may not realize that many of the top 2 percent aren’t paying the same share as we are. We need to make sure people know that.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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