May 22, 2006
The U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of the right of states to give special tax breaks to corporations.
It overturned a lower court’s ruling that Ohio taxpayers could sue the state for more than 280 million dollars in tax breaks it gave to DaimlerChrysler on its new Jeep plant in Toledo. The lower court, the Sixth District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, had also ruled that the tax breaks were unconstitutional because they interfere with interstate commerce.
The Supreme Court ignored the constitutional question and simply said that the taxpayers “had no standing” to sue because they could not show that they were directly harmed.
In other words – state residents may have their taxes increased while corporations’ taxes are lowered, but the court says that state residents aren’t harmed.
Their children’s schools may have less money, but the court says they aren’t harmed. Their garbage will not be picked up as often, and their street lights will be repaired less often, while the corporations’ profits will increase. But no harm there, either.
The Court said it as clearly as could be: the population has “no standing” when it comes to what the corporations want.
And every justice on the court voted – 9-0, liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat – against the citizens of Ohio and in favor of the big corporations.