Could Broadway pull a Burger King?
I knew there was a reason I was a McDonald’s fan.
Burger King made a Whopper-sized announcement this week that they are buying Tim Hortons, another processed food parts chain, and moving their headquarters to Canada . . . eh?
Why this major business move?
Simple. Why else do big corporations (and sometimes small corporations, and sometimes super wealthy people) move?
To get further away from the long arm of the IRS. Yep, Burger King, one of the most successful American food franchises, which earned $75.1 (!) million last quarter, is trading in their US passport to save taxes.
There’s a legal loophole that allows corporations to do what BK is doing (technically called a “tax inversion”), although Obama is swearing to try to close it and close it quick (although long time supporter Warren Buffett looks like he stabbed the Pres in the back by backing the BK move).
I’m an entrepreneur, and a capitalist, so I understand the instinct of the modern day CEO whose sole mission is, “To make as much money for my shareholders as legally possible.” That’s really it, in a nutshell, right? So part of me can’t blame 34 year old BK Boss Dan Schwartz, but there’s something about this that just seems plain wrong. Because it gets to the question of, “When is enough . . . enough?” You just made $75.1 million in a quarter, buddy. You really need more?
I know, I know. You’re saving for a rainy day. And again, if there’s a legal way to save money, why shouldn’t you do it?
I’ll even admit, when I get my tax bill every year, I wonder if I should move my corporate offices to New Jersey, or just move my house to New Jersey, to save on both the corporate city tax and the personal city tax.
And every time I consider it, I squash it, because it just doesn’t make sense for my business.
Unfortunately, the city, the state, and the federal government know this about Broadway Producers. It’s why theater producers and more importantly, Broadway investors, don’t get any special breaks for what they do . . . because governments know that Broadway can’t go anywhere else but the center of NYC. So they don’t have to make any concessions to tax codes . . . while they bend tax legislation for any movie that comes along (because movies can always got to another state, or yes, Canada).
So our taxes remain high, as billion dollar public companies skirt rules left and right. And we, the small business men and women of this country, continue to pay their bills.
Burger King was never a first choice of mine. But now it will never be a choice of mine.
Because as a Producer, as a Business Owner, and yeah, even as a CEO of a publicly traded company, I do believe there is such a thing as going too far to make money.
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