Stark Pounds Boeing Executive Over Low Tax Rate

‘HOW MUCH LOWER A RATE DO YOU NEED TO SURVIVE?’ STARK ASKS BOEING EXEC
Some people find Rep. Pete Stark’s belittling line of questioning towards opponents in his East Bay district a bit distasteful, but when it’s directed towards a multi-nationally corporation angling for even lower taxes rates, it seems to fit just right.

Stark lambasted a Boeing executive Thursday morning during a session of the House Ways and Means Committee where the aircraft producer asked for a lower tax rate, even though a report cited by Stark said the company paid a negative tax rate of 1.8 percent over the past three years on $10 billion in profits.

“I think in testimony that I heard earlier from Mr. Zrust that Boeing would like a lower tax rate,” Stark said. “So, how much lower a tax rate should we give Boeing? And why?” When the executive appeared to obfuscate, Stark interrupted, “How much lower a rate do you need to survive?”

James Zrust, the vice president of tax at Boeing never answered the question, but later said the company would begin paying higher taxes once it started the process of delivering orders.

“Oh, yeah? We’re going to get more from Boeing in the next few years?” mocked Stark. “How much more do you think Boeing’s going to pay us in the next few years?” Stark then turned towards Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), who also sits on the influential tax-writing committee and asked if he was aware Boeing would pay a higher rate in coming years. In a comic give-and-take, McDermott said he had not. “I didn’t know either,” said an incredulous Stark.

-STEVEN TAVARES
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