Freedom died yesterday. Gov. Gregoire signed legislation in the waning hours of the session that subjected corporate board fees to the Washington state B & O tax. This is not simply the camel'ês nose of ruinous taxation being swept under the carpet of free enterprise; this is the last straw of socialism that will kill the golden goose of job creation. This is a Trojan horse that will derail the fountain of prosperity.
Taxing board fees is the end of the American dream and the beginning of the March to Marxism. Consider the small family board, with directors already scraping to make ends meet to support their families, their churches, and the disadvantaged. Currently, corporate directors provide more than 71.9 percent of all charitable donations to local hospitals, social service agencies, and Little League teams. They account for 82.7 percent of all donations to churches, synagogues, and mosques. A tax on board fees is a criminal tax on charity. It is like killing the cat to keep the doctor away.
A tax on board fees is also an indirect tax on the magnificent men and women who are protecting our freedoms in Iraq and Afghanistan. Children of corporate directors comprise 61.6 percent of all military personnel in war zones.
This tax spells the end of the family farm in Washington state. Local farmers receive most of their income in the form of board fees. They will soon be forced to abandon their farms and enter dentistry.
To avoid this piratical tax, many corporations will follow Boeing'ês lead and relocate to business-friendly states. Reportedly, Puget Sound Energy may move to Orlando, while the Space Needle is eyeing Omaha. Microsoft is planning to move its headquarters to Bangalore, India, leaving only customer service in Redmond.
Ultimately, this is a tax on the American worker. It is robbing Peter to pay for two birds in the bush. It will force directors to raise their fees, thus leaving less for the average hard-working Washingtonian. Literally, a job-killing tax on corporate board fees is biting the hand that gets the early worm. When you don'êt get a raise next year, you can thank Gov. Gregoire, and act accordingly at the next election.What director will bother to stay awake through an audit committee meeting if meeting fees are taxed? Who will restrain executive compensation once the state gets a cut of compensation committee fees?
We directors have become a whipping goat for demagogic politicians. When populist legislators caused a recession by forcing banks to lend to the poor, they didn'êt blame the poor or themselves. They blamed corporate boards. Now they are throwing stones at proverbial sleeping dogs by trying to balance the budget on the elbows of corporate directors.
Big government bureaucrats and fellow-traveling liberal leftist legislators have never seen a tax they didn'êt like. They have never met a payroll so they can'êt appreciate what we do. We attend at least four full board meetings a year in addition to committee meetings. When prompted, 'êAll in favor vote aye,'ê we vote aye. Even when we understand the resolution, we vote aye. We are people you can count on. We read the minutes of prior meetings, or at least some of us do, some of the time. We pose for photographs for the annual report.
Now the State wants to hijack private property by taxing not only our retainers, but worse, levying a confiscatory tax on meeting fees. What director will bother to stay awake through an audit committee meeting if meeting fees are taxed? Who will restrain executive compensation once the state gets a cut of compensation committee fees?
We the people, and we the corporate directors of Washington state, are mad as hell and we'êre not going to take it anymore. It is time for us to stop counting chickens and start calling the fascist kettle exactly what is, 'êsocialism.'ê We are Citizens not Subjects. We are tired of working so that others don'êt have to. We are going get torches and pitchforks and show our government that the Declaration of Independence says 'êFree Markets, Not Free Loaders.'ê
Angry as we are, we directors have rejected protesting with a strike or work'êto-rules slowdown because:
1. Who would know?
2. We do not believe in collective bargaining.
3. A work-to-rules slowdown, entailing the oral reading of 10K'ês and 10Q'ês, would hasten the onset of dementia among our members.
Instead, we plan a series of Martini parties, specifically Grey Goose Vodka Martini parties, to be held at expensive steakhouses. There we will vent, rage, plot, and charge the bill to our companies. We appreciate your support on this issue. We regret that you are not invited to the Martini parties, because, frankly, you are not quite our type.