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A Major Defense Contractor Lobbying Against Military Spending Cuts

In June, James Zrust, vice president of tax for the defense contractor Boeing, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in favor of a steep reduction in the corporate income tax rate. One member of the committee, Congressman Pete Stark of California, cited a short report from CTJ explaining that Boeing’s effective corporate tax rate was already negative.

Boeing made $9.7 billion in profits over the 2008-2010 period but received $178 million from the IRS over that period, for an effective corporate income tax rate of negative 1.8 percent. How much lower does Boeing think its effective tax rate should be? Interestingly, Boeing actually had negative effective tax rates in all three of those years.

Given Boeing’s recent $35 billion deal to build airborne tankers (that is, $35 billion paid by U.S. taxpayers) it’s reasonable for Americans to expect Boeing to pay taxes when it makes a profit.

Defense spending has increased 70 percent since 2001 and many usually hawkish pundits and analysts are now calling for defense cuts. Boeing, of course, is lobbying against any defense cuts and disputing the commonsense notion that cuts in defense should play some role in deficit reduction.