Friday, April 22, 2011

MoveOn Targets Citibank In Queens by Joseph Orovic - Queens Tribune

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David Yale stood in front of Citibank’s Bell Boulevard branch, offering worn scrunchies to passersby.

“Free tax loophole?” he said. “Would you like the one Citibank used to pay zero dollars in taxes?”

Sporting signs that read “Make Deadbeat Corporations Pay,” a group of protestors used Tax Day to decry a system that allowed multi-billion dollar companies to pay nothing in taxes, and in some cases walk away with a refund.

The protesters in Bayside were part of a larger group of staged protests around the country organized by liberal netroots group The picketing was aimed at drawing attention to a system they contend has been corrupted by profits, influence peddling and a soft stance on corporate taxation. Citigroup refused to comment.

“I think that there’s a lot of collusion between corporations and the politicians,” said Joe Lauria, co-coordinator for the Queens Council of “People generally in America are asleep politically.”

Lauria and 50 others banded together at Citigroup’s headquarters in Long Island City to protest the bank’s willingness to accept government bailout money combined with aversion to paying taxes.

Yale’s protest was particularly striking, as it rested in the middle of a district that kept a Republican in the State Senate for 38 years and has an unabashedly Republican Councilman, Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).

“I’d like to welcome to Bayside on behalf of the many overtaxed families that live here,” Halloran said. “I’d be curious if MoveOn had anything to say about the sky-high taxes and big government regulations that are killing the small businesses they marched by on Bell Boulevard.”

Those joining picket line with Yale said awareness needed to be raised over the issue.

“The media doesn’t cover it,” said Michael McGrath, not mentioning the fact that he was saying it to a reporter.