Boston and Beacon Hill are happy about General Electric's decision to move its corporate headquarters to the city. It's not easy to keep GE happy, however.
After years of coddling on taxes, the corporate giant announced last year that it would move its headquarters out of Connecticut because it didn't care for a round of business tax increases approved in Hartford. Huge profits notwithstanding, this is not a company that is eager to pay its fair share of taxes.
GE tops the list of corporate tax avoiders compiled by US senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. From 2008 to 2013, GE paid an effective federal corporate income tax rate of minus 9 percent thanks to various loopholes and dodges, including stashing money overseas.
The combined city and state package to draw GE could total more than $150 million, according to The Boston Globe, an average of about $189,000 per job. Governor Baker says most of the money will go to infrastructure improvements around the new headquarters as opposed to tax incentives.
Whatever state tax money that was or will be spent attracting and accommodating GE comes out of the pockets of all taxpayers, not just Boston's. To acknowledge this reality, as well its debt to Berkshire County, perhaps GE could stop fighting the EPA and accept its fair proposal calling for the company to clean up its pollution in the Housatonic River south of Pittsfield.