For Immediate release
April 25, 2023
Press contact: William Fitzgerald, firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Ad Tax Campaigns Undaunted by Corporate Attempts to Discredit Tax Experts
The Action Center on Race & Economy (ACRE), a national organization that fights for racial and economic justice by exposing and challenging financial institutions and political actors who profit at the expense of people of color, is speaking out against attempts by big tech corporations to discredit proponents of the Digital Ad Tax in Maryland.
In an attempt to avoid paying what they owe our communities for profiting from our data, big tech corporations including Alphabet, Meta, and Amazon have challenged the tax in Maryland courts and are attempting to smear the credibility of our demands in the public arena. This month, the public relations campaign escalated to the point of attacking tax experts who support the campaign. Despite these orchestrated attacks, our coalition of advocates for the Digital Ad Tax remains firm in its demand that Big Tech companies pay what they owe.
“We need fully funded schools, quality healthcare, and a strong social safety net to thrive in our communities. A digital ad tax will allow us to have the tools we need to lead safe and stable lives.” said Gabriela Noa Betancourt, a senior research analyst at ACRE
As our schools and communities deteriorate from years of disinvestment, Big Tech corporations continue to profit. Digital advertising is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, projected to surpass $300 billion by 2025. Google, Amazon, and Meta collectively dominate 64% of the industry. It’s no surprise then that corporations like Google, which, for example, relies on digital advertising for more than 80% of its revenue, are lobbying against the proposal.
In the first three quarters of 2022, the Maryland Comptroller reported collecting $101 million dollars in revenues from the DAT. These new revenues can help to fund improved education services in Maryland, yet corporate lawyers are taking the tax to court.
Despite the tax already being in effect, lobbyists for these big tech corporations have resources community organizations in Maryland will never have. Big tech corporations have effectively infinite resources to join industry associations, fund research that supports their positions, and access state lawmakers to impress upon them their perspectives.
However, grassroots organizations and labor unions have widespread support from communities determined to ensure improved public services and have moved their state legislators in Connecticut, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts to consider their own versions of a Digital Ad Tax, which would fill gaps in the state budget for education, mental health services, and other vital public services. Despite what our opponents claim, the outcome of Maryland’s Supreme Court case will not determine the outcome of campaigns in other states.
As the May 5th Maryland Supreme Court hearing approaches, we call on Google, Meta, Amazon, and their Big Tech allies to end their misinformation attacks and pay what they owe.