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.
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.
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!