Must-Read Money Stories for Friday, March 10

by March 10, 2017
Despite having some of the highest corporate taxes in the developed world, few American companies pay those rates --- and many pay no taxes at all, The New York Times reported.

Despite having some of the highest corporate taxes in the developed world, few American companies pay those rates—and many pay no taxes at all, The New York Times reported. (“Calculator photo” courtesy of Pexels).

A.I.G.’s CEO to resign

Peter D. Hancock, who led an effort to turn around beleaguered insurance giant American International Group, announced he would resign on Thursday as losses continued to mount. The New York Times reported the insurer reported a fourth-quarter loss of $3.04 billion—one of its worst quarters since the 2008 financial meltdown. Hancock will remain chief executive until a successor is hired, A.I.G. said on Thursday. Investors, including activist shareholder Carl C. Icahn, have called for a breakup of the company.

Oil continues to dip

CNBC reported oil prices dropped about 2 percent on Thursday, extending a previous decline in prices that marked the lowest level in 2017. Record U.S. crude inventories have led to doubts about whether cuts by The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would reduce a global glut of oil. U.S. crude prices dropped below the $50 barrel support level as traders unwound positive bets made after the OPEC decision to limit output. U.S. light crude settled down $1, or about 2 percent, at $49.28, its lowest closing price since November 30.

Guess which companies don’t pay taxes?

While the U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world, a new study showed few companies pay the highest corporate tax rates—and many don’t pay any corporate taxes at all. The New York Times reported on a new analysis of 258 profitable Fortune 500 companies that showed 100 of the companies, or about 40 percent, paid no taxes in at least one year between 2008 and 2015. The report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy also found that 18 of the companies, including General Electric, Priceline.com, and PG&E, received rebates, rather than paying taxes. The report found companies use a broad range of loopholes and aggressive accounting strategies that allow them to legally avoid paying corporate taxes.

States won’t wait for Fed funds

Bloomberg reported that at least six Republican-led states have proposed hiking gas taxes to fund road and bridge improvements, saying they can’t wait for the a possible federal infrastructure plan to fund the projects. The move places these states in the awkward position of battling members of their own party, who refuse to support any tax increases, even for vital infrastructure projects. In Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam, a two-term Republican, has proposed raising the state gas tax of 21.4 cents per gallon by 7 cents and increasing car registration fees and placing a road user fee on electronic cars to fund annual road and bridge improvements. Without these taxes, Haslam worries the state won’t be able to fund its annual budget to maintain the state’s roads and bridges.

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