by Max Brantley
Specifically, the report calculates the cost of a tax loophole that allows Walmart and other corporations to deduct unlimited amounts from their income taxes for the cost of executive compensation if it is in the form of stock options and other so-called “performance pay.” This tax loophole serves as a massive subsidy for excessive executive compensation and leaves other taxpayers to pick up the tab. In effect, the larger the executive payouts the less Walmart pays in taxes.
Key findings in this report include:
* $104 Million: Walmart reduced its federal tax bills by an estimated $104 million over
the past six years by exploiting a tax loophole that allowed eight top executives to
pocket more than $298 million in “performance pay” that was fully tax deductible. That
sum would have been enough to cover the cost of free school lunches for 33,000
children for those six years.
* $40 Million: Michael T. Duke, Walmart’s recently retired President & CEO and currently
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, pocketed nearly $116
million in exercised stock options and other “performance pay” during the period 2009-
2014. That translates into a taxpayer subsidy for Walmart of more than $40 million—
enough to cover the average cost of food stamps for 4,200 people for those six years.
* $50 Billion: Taxpayers would save $50 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint
Committee on Taxation, if Congress closed this perverse “performance pay” loophole by
capping the tax deduction at $1 million for each employee’s total compensation, with
no exceptions for performance pay.
It estimated that taxpayers spend $7.8 billion a year subsidizing Walmart and the Walton
family, which owns more than 50 percent of Walmart, by providing public assistance to the
company’s employees and through various other subsidies and tax breaks