Press Release: Black Friday: Boycott Microsoft and Picket to Demand Tax Fairness

Contact: Julianna Dauble

206-856-1357
November 12, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Black Friday: Boycott Microsoft and Picket to Demand Tax Fairness ”

Seattle – Washington Badass Teachers Association (WA-BATS) a grassroots group of career educators protecting our public education system from further degradation is holding a public protest on Friday, November 28th, 2014 at the overpass on NE 40th St in Redmond, a block from Overlake Transit Center and near 156th Ave and 136th St. (Here’s the google map location). The public is encouraged and welcome to attend from 5:30-7:30.

Because the average citizen is unaware of how public schools are funded and how regressive Washington state’s tax system is, organizers will be artfully drawing attention to the corporate tax loopholes enjoyed by Microsoft through creative messaging.

Microsoft has avoided paying at least $5.34 billion in state taxes since 1997 thanks to dodging the state royalty tax. Microsoft admits to holding $92 billion in earning offshore to avoid paying $29 billion in U.S. taxes.

The theme of the picket is similar to a funeral procession. Attendees will carry candles for the lost lives and lost learning due to the underfunding of safety net programs and our public schools.

Large lit signs will be visible to traffic on the freeway below. A chorus will perform. Solidarity with all workers will be demonstrated through planned activities on the public sidewalks.

A mock trial and dramatized ‘conviction and sentencing’ of greedy profiteers will be held to signify the injustice to citizens at 4:00 on this day. An audience is encouraged for this event as well.

As public servants and compassionate humans, protesters are demanding the following:

1. Microsoft pay back taxes owed from their manipulation of licensing laws and moving certain financial operations out of state specifically to avoid their tax responsibility.

2. The public boycott Microsoft products including: Microsoft Office, Minecraft, Surface Tablets, Windows, Xbox, Skype, & Nokia phones until Microsoft pays their fair share for Washington State services.

3. Legislators reform tax laws! Each and every legislator swore to uphold their paramount duty when they were sworn into office. Demand legislators change revenue policies to eliminate tax loopholes for corporations. Fully fund basic education. Support students, teachers, small class sizes, and all workers in Washington with a fair budget and sustainable revenue. Support our most vulnerable citizens across the state.

Other social justice groups will be joining the Badass Teachers. Because the event will be in the dark on a non workday for Microsoft employees guest speakers will be using bullhorns and videotaped so messages will be disseminated on various media. Activist leaders will be made available for interview.

For more information about WA-BATS, visit us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1378337475716232/
Event Invite (public): https://www.facebook.com/events/708053752620832
Contact: Julianna Dauble, (206) 856-1357
Email: BATSrally@gmail.com

Boycott Microsoft (Black Friday Mourning Picket!) November 28

Join us in our #BoycottMicrosoft Black Friday Mourning Picket! The Badass Teachers of WA are calling on everyone who cares about the future.

Black Friday #Boycott Microsoft

Come prepared to:

Carry a light for every child who didn’t get the attention their teacher wanted to give them because of criminal underfunding of schools.

Mourn the learning opportunities lost in our classrooms because of tax loopholes.

Mourn the loss of revenue for our most vulnerable citizens while protesting tax loopholes given to the wealthy.

Microsoft is shirking their responsibility for meeting society’s needs and putting the tax burden on the backs of workers, thus perpetuating inequality (while profiting at record levels).

We MOURN economic fairness. But we have hope. We have a clear struggle ahead of us and we have solidarity.

Microsoft owes $8.16 billion to our state from tax years 1997-2014 (according to investigative journalism by Crosscut. The article link with the facts is below).

The time is NOW to call the public’s attention to the reality of our most vulnerable citizens; Washington legislators are in contempt of court for not meeting our own state constitution’s paramount duty to fully fund basic education. Microsoft has helped this travesty along.

Safety net programs will be on the chopping block this legislative session because of false choices. State funded programs should not be fighting each other for scarce resources when corporations like Microsoft enjoy huge tax gifts year after year.

***Wear black, bring flashlights or other lights to carry in solidarity as we picket the overpass between the East and West Microsoft campuses.

***Join educators, health care workers, public servants and concerned citizens to protest the perpetual under-funding of public schools, basic health and other state programs that improve the quality of life for EVERYONE.

***Signs & artful resistance messages will be available for you.

LOCATION: Park at Overlake Transit Center, just a block from the overpass: 15590 Northeast 36th Street
Redmond, WA 98052. Follow the signs to the picket.

The picket theme is similar to a funeral procession:
We MOURN lost revenue, lost lives and lost learning opportunities to corporate greed.

We are public servants in MOURNING of amply funded classrooms and safety nets. Because the legislature relies on regressive sales taxes paid by families who NEED to buy cheap this one day of the year, we protest the growing riches of the 1% while poverty is on the rise.

Attendees will demand:

1. Microsoft pay back taxes owed from their manipulation of licensing laws and moving certain financial operations out of state specifically to avoid their tax responsibility.

2. The public boycott Microsoft products including: Microsoft Office, Minecraft, Surface Tablets, Windows, Xbox, Skype, & Nokia phones until Microsoft pays their fair share for Washington State services.

3. Legislators reform tax laws! Each and every legislator swore to uphold their paramount duty when they were sworn into office. Demand legislators change revenue policies to eliminate tax loopholes for corporations. Fully fund basic education. Support students, teachers, small class sizes, and all workers in Washington with a fair budget and sustainable revenue. Support our most vulnerable citizens across the state.

“We can conservatively estimate Microsoft’s savings from lobbying and dodging the state royalty tax between 1997 and 2014 at $5.34 billion. If we factor in interest and the Department of Revenue’s typical 25 percent penalty on unpaid corporate taxes, that number jumps to $8.16 billion”.

“The sophistication with which these men have manipulated the law and enforcement in Olympia has tremendously harmed our state and our schools, and undermined constructive dialogue over tax fairness. Ballmer and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos both fought the progressive income tax in 2010. In 2012, Smith suggested raising the sales tax was the best approach to fund education.”

“Since this is the same state government whose auditors scoured Yelp listings to collect taxes from dance clubs while ignoring billions in tax breaks to Microsoft and Boeing, it’s likely the court will need to firmly guide the Legislature’s hand to prevent them from making the most regressive tax system in the country any worse.”

Read the entire article here:
Where are Washington’s K-12 dollars? Just ask Microsoft shareholders

And on the national scale they admit to avoiding paying $29.6 Billion in taxes by hoarding them off-shore:
Microsoft Admits Keeping $92 Billion Offshore to Avoid Paying $29 Billion in U.S. Taxes

Visit the picket’s facebook page and sign up.

Snarkies

Many political cartoons have a little guy on the bottom corner making snarky comments.    Chris Tombrello and Chad Lupkes suggested that Pat Oliphant may have invented this form [snarky comment guy]. His little penguin was named Punk. Chris thought the insets might be called “cartouches”, but the term doesn’t quite fit. (See http://oldprintgallery.wordpress.com/tag/cartouche/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartouche_%28disambiguation%29 .)

I propose calling the little cartoon commenters “snarkies.”

I added a snarky to the bottom left of my image about Bill Gates, in response to Elizabeth Hanson’s observation that Gates’ donations to education often supported a corporate takeover of public education.
Hey, Bill Gates! You've given money to fight diseases, fund education, and stop gun violence. How about donating to fix our unfair tax system that favors  people like you?