AT&T is one of 26 companies that paid their CEOs more than they paid in taxes last year according to a new study
by the Intstitute for Policy Studies. According to the report, the 26 companies paid their CEOs an average of $20.4 million last year while paying little or no federal tax on what were significant profits. In 2011, AT&T paid CEO Randall Stephenson $18.7 million, while getting a $420 million refund. That hefty refund was courtesy of new "accelerated depreciation" rules corporations
lobbied for, resulting in you or your local community
picking up the tab from the taxation shortfall created. From the report:
Our nations tax code has become a powerful enabler of bloated CEO pay. Some tax rules on the books today essentially encourage corporations to compensate their executives at unconscionably higher multiples of what their average workers are paid. Other rules let executives who run major corporations routinely reduce their corporate tax bills. The fewer dollars these corporations pay in taxes, the more robust their eventual earnings and the higher the performance-based pay for the CEOs who produce them.
In effect, were rewarding corporate executives for gaming the tax system. Our tax code is helping the CEOs of our nations most prosperous corporations pick Uncle Sams pocket.
AT&T tells the Associated Press
the accelerated depreciation tax loopholes they used allow the company to re-invest that money elsewhere, helping to "drive the economy and support good-paying jobs." You are, apparently, supposed to ignore the tens of thousands of employees laid off in recent years as the company turns away from landline services, and the steady decline in overall network investment made at the company -- specifically on the wireline side.
The full report
(pdf) is worth a read, explaining and grading a variety of proposed reform solutions to help curb excessive executive compensation and to shore up corporate tax dodging.