File this as an “over the top” multinational’s political muscling of a weakened local government. . . . afterall, Merck has simply shifted a chunk of its tax burden. . . to its laid-off ex-employees, here — while continuing to reap massive (multi billion dollar) net profits, year after year.
From the keen eye of Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot — it seems that the mayor of Rahway, New Jersey has, by letter (see image at right; click image to enlarge; full 4 page PDF file of letter) quantified the components of the 2011 municipal tax increases for citizens of that municipality. Per a bit from NJ Today online news:
. . . .The average Rahway taxpayer will pay $66 extra this year because of a tax appeal settlement with Merck. . . .
In a letter posted on the city website, Mayor Rick Proctor broke down the $212 increase in the average Rahway tax bill for fiscal year 2011. The loss of state aid cost $75, an increase in pension costs added $52 and an increase in general operating expenses added $19. . . .
The letter recites that the Merck tax reduction is due to “current nationwide economic conditions“. I find that statement to be (at best) only partially accurate.
Afterall, Merck chose to conduct a bust-up transaction, and lay off perhaps 35,000 employees over the last three years, alone (many in and around Rahway). Through it all, though, Merck has continued to take in net aftertax profits of multiple billions of dollars per year.
So it seems that a tax increase passed to individuals in Rahway — many of whom were also put out of work by Merck, in just the last year — is beyond the pale.
Just as Merck continues to return several billion dollars of net profits to its shareholders every year, it is certainly able to continue to shoulder its fair share of the tax burden in Rahway — where it is, in part, generating the revenue (and presently idling the skilled Rahway, NJ workforce).
Just food for thought.