Apple's not the only company to save billions in taxes through Nevada as The New York Times reported yesterday. Here's how Microsoft's saved $4.37 billion in tax payments to Washington State and how it's led indirectly to $4 billion in K-12 and Higher Education cuts since 2008. 18% of University of Washington freshman are now foreigners (because they pay more) up from 2% six years ago. Washington State ranks 47th nationally in 18-24 yo college enrollment and 48th in K-12 class size. This hasn't stopped the architect of the company's Nevada tax dodge from writing in The Seattle Times: 'it's [Washington] state's paramount duty to provide for the public education of all children. Unfortunately, steady declines in public resources now threaten our ability to live up to that commitment.' Yes, indeed.
When it comes to education in Washington State, Microsoft is the problem...
Here's my penultimate summary of how Governor Gregoire, the legislature, the courts and The Seattle Times have enabled Microsoft's hypocritical stance on education and tax dodging to damage our budget and our educational system ... new updates including audio clip of Microsoft's Brad Smith acknowledging the Nevada tax dodge:
Microsoft Told to Put Up or Shut Up on Nevada Tax Dodge Issue
Beginning with the publication of Citizen Microsoft in Seattle Weekly in 2004, I've reported that Microsoft used its Nevada office to avoid payment of the state's Royalty Tax from 1998 - 2010. I've blogged that the amount of the tax dodge has likely exceeded $1.07 billion (not including penalties).
"Mr. Burbank does not include sourcing to support his claims regarding Microsoft’s Nevada licensing, which is part of a very complicated piece of state tax law. Much of the information regarding this issue is misinformation primarily spread by a blogger, and no state official has ever provided any factual data supporting his claims."
I stand behind my research and all of my claims. If Microsoft wishes to prove that it paid Washington State Royalty Taxes during the years 1998 - 2010, it should disclose its worldwide licensing revenue and its Royalty Tax payments for this time period. It would be quite simple for the company to provide these two sets of numbers and would put the issue to rest once and for all (as I have done here).
Register for the next Democracy School in Seattle June 17th - 18th
Democracy School teaches citizens and activists to reframe exhausting and often discouraging single issue work (such as opposing ill-advised highway projects, stadium funding and corporate tax breaks, or proposing sick leave legislation, bans on toxic chemicals and common sense drug policy, etc.) in a way that we can confront corporate control on a powerful single front: people’s constitutional rights.
Our next Seattle school will focus on activists and organizers interested in helping lead a rights-based movement in Seattle, similar to what Spokane began in 2010. Specifically, graduates of the school will be encouraged to participate in community building efforts to draft a bill of rights for a future Seattle ballot initiative.
EyeLevel: Recommended Graphic Design Partner in Seattle
If you're looking for a great graphic design firm in Seattle or want to learn more about customizing the design of one of our Facebook communities, check out Eye Level's Facebook application portfolio:
Comcast has a monopoly on cable where I live in Seattle. They are poorly regulated by the city e.g. service is poor and they do not have to sell channels a la carte (customers are forced to buy packaged bundles if they want service).
While trying to activate my digital boxes this week, I discovered that the EyeTV is no longer able to change channels via Comcast's Digital Transport Boxes. I assume that all PC and Mac-based DVR solutions e.g. MythTV will be similarly impacted.
The solution involves getting a $49.95 USB-enabled IR blaster to tell the Comcast box when to change channels. My experience with IR-systems is that they are slow. Trying to change channels when watching TV normally will be slowed. Worse yet, it may not work at all - says this forum poster:
It works fine, but almost once a day, stops being able to change channels on the DTA. I can make it work again by using the supplied Comcast remote to change the channel once. After that, the ZephIR "remembers" how to communicate with the DTA. Its almost as if the DTA is going into some kind of sleep mode until it hears from the remote.
I've been in correspondence with the folks with ZephIR. Frustrating!
It seems like it might be time for me to finally give up on cable television and switch to other solutions e.g. NetFlix, iTunes, Hulu and the EyeTV Hybrid HD tuner ...
On The Media recently ran this timely segment called Cutting the Cable - "if Netflix can cut the same content deals with Hollywood as Comcast and Time Warner - this could be the beginning of the end for cable.":
Even if Comcast's latest move didn't kill the PC-based DVR, their next step would be to encrypt content on more and more channels to restrict the use of these and other solutions such as TiVo.
Apparently, the digital cable business in Seattle is still so profitable, that Comcast can afford to send free hardware (I got two boxes) to all of its customers without blinking. They probably expect to make up the cost outlay with new DVR subscriptions.
Comcast's Digital Now page says "Welcome to The World of More! More Channels, Higher Quality, No Additional Cost on up to 3 TVs*" - but what it really means is More Money for Comcast and More Costs and Less Choice for Consumers.
It's frustrating the Seattle city council is allowing Comcast to upgrade its systems in this way - without providing full compatibility with existing systems.
The City of Seattle has a long history of poorly regulating Comcast — complain here.
p.s. I should also mention that Comcast's Digital Now Website activation doesn't even work. It kept rejecting my valid digital ID. Attempts to get online chat support kept breaking any time I'd switch away from the page - the chat room would reset in the middle of a support session. I had to call in several times before reaching someone on the phone that could actually activate my boxes. This is when I discovered the bad news. The Comcast technician on the phone said it could take up to an hour to load all the channels - but apparently, he just didn't understand --- I'd need to upgrade if I want those channels.