Below is a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook that its author shared today with the Washington Monthly. I think it speaks for itself:
Dear Mr. Cook:
Friends at Texans for Public Justice have informed me that Apple is on track to ask and receive $21 million in tax dollars to build your Austin-based “Americas Operations Center.” Another $14.5 million is reportedly on the way from city and county governments, offered as incentives to continue amassing more of your company’s Chinese workers-fueled profits.
As it is well-known, your cash reserves, based on your high-profit margins, are around $100 billion - greater than any other company in the U.S. Why are you risking your company’s reputation by becoming more of a corporate welfarist and taking Texans’ tax dollars at a time when public budgets, including education budgets, are strapped?
Already Texas public schools have laid off 32,000 workers, including 12,000 teachers. Another round of $2 billion in funding cuts from the state government is coming this September.
Who needs $21 million (plus another $14.5 million) more: the bulging corporate treasury of Apple or the school children of Texas? Please don’t trot out the shareholder obligation argument, when you have just, after many years of profitability, at last agreed to give some dividends back to your owners. Moreover, there is no such legal obligation and you, like many other massively-compensated executives, with a rubber-stamp board of directors, know this only too well. What was that new compensation package you announced so soon after the loss of Steve Jobs, who only took in $1 as salary per year? The press reported it at over 300 million Tim Cook dollars!
Mr. Cook, please take the high road and grandly announce that your company will not take this $34.5 million from Texas taxpayers. Say it is needed for essential educational and other public health and safety services in Texas and that you urge other companies to turn back their corporate welfare. Such a statement would set a good example. Tell Governor Rick Perry to stop treating capitalists as if they were welfare cases. Say that capitalists should behave like capitalists and not “have their hands in the government’s trough,” to quote a phrase Ronald Reagan used when I debated him at an American Enterprise Institute Symposium years ago.
As an Apple shareholder, I and other shareholders will pursue this matter further should you not give the people of Texas the good news that Apple intends to stand on its own two $100 billion feet.
Unlike individuals, artificial corporate entities get more than one bite of the apple. However, given your problems in China and elsewhere, you don’t need to take yet another bite of the Apple.
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