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March 05, 2005

Legislators smarting over Gates' education comments

There's finally been a chink in the blindly pro-business mindset at the Seattle Times, while this wasn't a front page story, it's sort of a surprise to see it run at all.

"We'd have a much easier time funding education if companies like Microsoft weren't picking our pockets for tax breaks year in and year out," said state Sen. Erik Poulsen, D-Seattle.  

Sen. Ken Jacobsen said it's hard to stomach Gates' message, given the business community's persistent efforts to cut the very taxes that help fund schools.

"They seem to have a bad case of corporate cognitive dissonance," said Jacobsen, D-Seattle.  

Lately, Microsoft executives seem to be making it a contest among themselves who can be more intellectually dishonest. This time, Brad Smith hits an inside the park home run with this zinger:

Brad Smith, a senior vice president at Microsoft, said the company is sympathetic toward the difficult budget lawmakers face, and doesn't want to compound the situation. He said the criticisms from lawmakers would be fair if Microsoft were pushing for a tax break this year. "We're not asking for a large corporate relief package," he said.

Of course, last year, Smith and Microsoft successfully pushed for a ten year extension to a bitterly disputed extension of the R&D Tax Credit - a $20 million dollar a year savings to the company. And, Microsoft continues to save $55+ million per year in taxes by operating its licensing business in Reno, Nevada. And, Microsoft and Smith are active paid members of the pro-business associations and lobbies in Washington which continually push for corporate welfare.

In a story about education funding, the Times couldn't help itself, ending the story with quotes such as:

Others say money isn't the problem at all. "I've been around Olympia for years and there's never enough money for education," said Don Brunnel, president of the Association of Washington Business. "We have to be more prudent about where we put our dollars for education."

The AWB is one of the Microsoft-supported lobbies.

For more information on this, read Citizen Microsoft.

Posted by Jeff on March 5, 2005 at 02:04 PM in Policy | Permalink

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