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Some major U.S. companies pay high CEO salaries, few taxes

A business executive waiting for his pay

Steve Chiotakis: A new study shows dozens of major U.S. companies pay more in salaries to their CEOs than they pay in total corporate taxes.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: The Institute for Policy Studies is a liberal leaning think tank that looked at the hundred most profitable companies in the U.S. It found 25 of them pay CEO salaries that total more than their tax bill. Study author Scott Klinger says the government invests in corporations through things like educating the workforce, maintaining highways.

Scott Klinger: And we think companies should pay their fair share. They certainly have the money to pay their CEOs quite a bit.

The report targets big names like Boeing, Verizon and Dow Chemical and how much their CEOs make, versus what they pay in taxes.

Klinger says one big problem is that when companies make money overseas, they keep it there to avoid taxes.

Right now corporations are pushing for a repatriation holiday.

Chris Molineaux represents biotech and pharmaceutical firms for Pennsylvania Bio. He says that's a grace period when companies can transfer money back into the U.S. without tax penalty.

Chris Molineaux: What that allows us to do is to continue to put money into the research and development.

Drug companies might invest more overseas sales money into U.S. labs, for example. The last time the U.S. had such a holiday, though, companies mostly used the money to pay stockholders, not make jobs.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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