5 top Michigan corporations paid $0 in federal taxes under Trump's new tax law


General Motors headquarters. - LINDA PARTON / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Linda Parton / Shutterstock.com
  • General Motors headquarters.

You may have paid federal taxes, but four Fortune 500 companies in Michigan did not. In fact, they received hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds collectively.

DTE Energy, Penske Automotive Group, Whirlpool, and General Motors are among 60 corporations nationally that paid $0 in federal taxes in 2018 despite billions in profits.

That's partly a result of Trump's 2017 rewrite of the tax code, which cut the corporate tax rate while leaving in place or creating large loopholes. While large corporations and wealthy individuals got a tax cut, many lower and middle class individuals' taxes went up.

According to an analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, General Motors paid no taxes on $4.3 billion in profits, Penske recorded $393 million in profits, Whirlpool had $717 million in profits, Consumer's Energy had $774 million in profits, and DTE Energy recorded $1.2 billion in profits.

As always, Republicans claim that cutting taxes for businesses and the wealthy, while raising them on the working class, will create jobs. There's no evidence to support that, and instead of adding to its workforce, General Motors is cutting 18,000 jobs and closing factories across the Midwest. Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool also cut 4,000 jobs in 2018.

Meanwhile, a Detroit News analysis found GM CEO Mary Barra earned $22 million last year, or 295 times what the median GM employee earned at $74,000. DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson earned nearly $11 million, or about 91 times as much as the company's median employee. Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer earned $11.8 million, which is 578 times higher than what Whirlpool's median employee earned at just over $20,000. Penske CEO Roger Penske earned $6.8 million, or about 168 times the company's median employee with a salary of about $40,000.

DTE Energy partly reduced its taxes by $223 million using alternative energy tax subsidies, which is ironic because it's worked in recent years to effectively kill solar energy production in Michigan.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.