NEWS

Homeowners tell Attorneys General: "Not Enough;" Hundred's go to National Association of Attorneys General's Convention

03/07/11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Monica Trevino, National People's Action,
at (312) 286-4430 monica@npa-us.org

Patricia Brooks at (202) 351-1757 or patricia@matchmapmedia.com

New report exposes how big banks avoid taxes, drive public budget cuts, and hinder the nation's economic recovery; Launch of makewallstreetpay.org

Washington, DC — Hundreds of homeowners, clergy, and community leaders are in Washington, D.C. as part of National People's Action (NPA) conference to demand action to address two big barriers standing in the way of economic recovery — the foreclosure crisis and the revenue crisis.

Foreclosure Crisis - More than 600 homeowners and community leaders from 20 states will be rallying at the National Association of Attorneys General's Convention, on Monday, March 7 at 11:00 am at the Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M Street NW where all 50 state Attorneys Generals are meeting. Recent news accounts show that the Attorneys General, together with the Obama Administration & other bank regulators, are now negotiating details of a final settlement with the nation's largest mortgage servicers on the foreclosure fraud investigation. NPA, PICO National Network, Alliance for a Just Society, and other organizations around the country have been demanding that Attorneys Generals and other bank regulators stand up for homeowners and force banks to accept a strong settlement that includes principal reduction on millions of mortgages, remedies and restitution for families who lost their homes due to fraud, and criminal penalties in cases where bankers broke the law.

"The Attorney Generals are a last line of defense preventing big banks from taking the homes of millions of more American families. Too few politicians have had the guts to go toe to toe with the big banks. As the top law enforcement officers from our states, we are counting on our Attorneys General to buck that trend. We are here to clearly communicate to our nation's 50 State Attorneys General that any meaningful settlement must include reducing principal on millions of mortgages in America," said Reverend Eugene Barnes, Board President, National People's Action.

Revenue Crisis — National People's Action, PICO National Network, and Alliance for a Just Society will launch the Make Wall Street Pay campaign on Monday, March 7. The campaign kick-off includes the report, "Big Bank Tax Drain: How Wall Street Speculation and Tax Avoidance are Starving Public Revenues," (key findings below) as well as the new website (www.makewallstreetpay.org) that allows Americans to create and send banks the bill for what the banks owe them and their state; and organizing public actions in Washington, DC that connect the revenue crisis to Wall Street. A public action to launch the campaign will take place in Washington, DC on the morning of March 7. Location TBD at 11 a.m. If you would like more information, please call the above numbers.

"We have a revenue crisis in America. The good news is this: we know where the money is. And though politicians might tell you differently, it's not in Grandma's pension. It's not in the homes of families fighting off foreclosure. And it's not in the pockets of American schoolchildren or schoolteachers. It's on Wall Street. We can't build a strong economy on the ashes of the American Dream. To rebuild America we must invest in public education and infrastructure, create good new jobs, and fix the foreclosure crisis. And the banks that crashed the economy need to begin doing their part," said George Goehl, Executive Director, National People's Action.

The "Big Bank Tax Drain" report analyzes data from the latest financial filings by the six big banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

Key findings include:

  • This year Bank of America is receiving the "income tax refund from hell" — $666 million for 2010, according to its annual report filed in late February 2011. Bank of America's federal income tax benefit this year is roughly two times the Obama administration's proposed cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program ($299 million).
  • Six banks — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley together paid income tax at an approximate rate of 11% of their pre-tax US earnings in 2009 and 2010. Had they paid at 35%, what they are legally supposed to pay, the federal government would have received an additional $13 billion in tax revenue. This would cover more than two years of salaries for the 132,000 teacher jobs lost since the economic crisis began in 2008.
  • Bank of America operates 371 tax-sheltered subsidiaries, more than any other big bank studied, and 204 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands alone, according to its latest regulatory filings. 75% of Goldman Sachs's foreign subsidiaries are incorporated in offshore tax havens
  • Closing special tax loopholes on the financial sector and implementing sensible revenue-raising initiatives such as the Financial Speculation Tax could generate over $150 billion in federal tax revenue each year.

Community leaders who are attending the NPA Conference had a chance to hear from U.S. DOL Secretary Hilda Solis on Sunday, March 6 regarding new efforts to hold employers accountable for exploiting workers in the economic crisis. The conference also featured solutions to the foreclosure crisis, innovative ideas on how to create millions of new green jobs, exposing how the Wall Street funded for-profit prison industry exploits immigrants, and more.

Over the past two years, NPA led the public actions that brought tens of thousands of people out to demand accountability from Wall Street and big banks like Bank of America that crashed the economy, were bailed out by taxpayers, and then proceeded to foreclose on millions of American families. In addition to supporting the passage of the Dodd—Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, NPA has met with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan on solutions to the economic crisis facing American families, farmers, and small businesses.

National People's Action is a network of metropolitan, regional, and statewide organizations that are dedicated to advancing economic and racial justice. NPA has over 200 organizers working to unite people in cities and towns across the country to create a more just and equitable society.