March 9, 2012

Houstonians Disrupt El Paso Shareholders’ Meeting

At first, El Paso scheduled their shareholders’ meeting for Tuesday, March 6. Then they got the word that there were going to be protesters there, so in a surprise move unprecedented in corporate American culture they got scared and moved their shareholders’ meeting to Friday, March 9.

But they didn’t deter the protesters from rallying 100 strong outside. And they certainly didn’t expect the protesters to also be shareholders on the inside.

Inside

We had roving “mic checks” with groups of 4 apiece, talking about a different issue relating to El Paso’s greed. One mic check referred to the proposed Kinder Morgan acquisition that we wrote about here. One mic check talked about El Paso’s tax dodging habits, netting them a $41 million federal income tax refund on $4.1 billion in profits since 2008. Another mic check mentioned that the $41 million El Paso got back in refunds could offset HISD’s expected budget cut of $41 million for the following year. Our people on the inside made up over half of the total crowd at the shareholders’ meeting.

Outside

There were over 100 people rallying outside of El Paso’s HQ, who had marched that morning from City Hall. There was plenty of visual spectacle– pig suits, Doug Foshee puppets, drumming, and plenty of great chants like:

WE’RE NOT BROKE / THAT’S A FACT / FUND OUR SCHOOLS / WITH CORPORATE TAX

HOW TO END THE DEFICIT / TAX EL PASO AND THE RICH

EL PASO’S TAX RATE IS A JOKE / PAY YOUR TAXES, WE’RE NOT BROKE

41 MILLION DOLLARS / TAX REFUNDS THAT MAKE ME HOLLER

YOUR TAX REFUND IS TOO BIG / TAX THE GREEDY CORPORATE PIGS

HEY EL PASO, READ OUR SIGNS / SCHOOLS AND JOBS ARE ON THE LINE

TAX DODGING IS THE WORST / FUNDING SCHOOLS / SHOULD COME FIRST

It was a great end to a week full of action against corporate tax dodgers, particularly against El Paso. Check out the pictures below, and be on the lookout for video of the inside coming soon! We even got mentioned nationally in Reuters, and locally in the Houston Business Journal!

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Protesters Shake Up the El Paso Shareholders Meeting

Today a landmark merger happened here in Houston and we made our mark! El Paso Corp  held its shareholders meeting to announce the merger with Kinder Morgan. We had an army of a hundred who represented the voice of the people inside and outside the shareholders meeting. We let El Paso, the tax dodging, job cutting, corporation know it’s time they pay their fair share.  El Paso knows that the pressure is on and the we, the 99%, are on to their tax dodging tactics and are aware of the fuzzy math they use to calculate the supposed income taxes they paid.

Earlier this week reps from El Paso told the press they paid over  $750 million in federal, state and other taxes during the period 2008-2010 and had an effective tax rates of 24 percent for 2008, 46 percent for 2009 and 29 percent for 2010. Booooo! We looked at the reports and the money does NOT add up. What they forgot to mention is that they made $1.2 billion in profit and received a federal tax refund of $4 million, a -0.3% federal tax refund. They also didn’t mention how they skipped out on the bill to repair roads, provide infrastructure and keep our city safe when they didn’t pay their fair share.

We’re no longer going to let these corporate pigs bring home the bacon with out paying their fair share.

Check us out in action outside of El Paso:

http://www.39online.com/newsfix/kiah-tax-protest-turns-into-pig-chants-20120307,0,3528729.story

"Pay Your Fair Share!!!"

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