The Monsanto Company has drawn the ire of protesters across the world, but its headquarters and most of its operations are located in the United States; in St. Louis, MO to be exact.
Recent reports that Monsanto may be acquiring the Swiss rival and GMO seed competitor Syngenta have surfaced, and one Illinois Senator is not happy about it.
Dick Durbin, who hails from Illinois and ranks as the number two Democrat in the Senate, recent penned a letter to Monsanto CEO and Company Hugh Grant not to move his company overseas.
Monsanto may be considering such a move as part of a practice known as “inversion” that involves changing its address for tax purposes.
Such a move would also potentially allow Monsanto to avoid some of the wrath of protest movements here in the States, and here’s the big kicker: it could also allow them to avoid paying the lion’s share of their taxes, too.
Durbin to Monsanto: “Please Stay!”
Monsanto recently said it made an offer of about $45 billion to acquire Syngenta, which the company said would add significant value to all stakeholders including shareholders. But what about the people in America supported by the company’s massive tax payments?
“As you consider acquiring Syngenta AG or any other company, I strongly urge you and the board of directors to maintain Monsanto Company’s headquarters and its tax address in the United States,” Durbin said according to this article from St. Louis Public Radio.
“You and your board must recognize that your company’s continued commitment to America would be good, not only for the country, but also for Monsanto Company’s bottom line.”
Since 2004, more than 40 U.S. corporations have utilized a loophole in the U.S. Tax Code that allows them to avoid paying taxes here by moving their corporate HQ, even if on paper only, out of the country.
Durbin also said that Monsanto’s growth was made possible “in large part due to U.S. “taxpayer-funded programs and services.”
He added that protection of Monsanto’s $8.5 billion in profits comes in part through what he called “a robust U.S. patent protection system provided by U.S. taxpayers,” and also that Monsanto benefits from programs at the National Institutes of Health and Nation Science Foundation in addition to a “workforce trained and educated with significant federal, state and local resources.”
In other words, the United States has a lot of money invested in a company that its citizens aren’t exactly fond of, and Durbin is concerned that Monsanto is being ungrateful by planning to move out of the country.
It is worth noting that Durbin has spoken out against corporate inversions in general, however, introducing a ‘Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2015? to close the loophole in an effort to preserve billions in possible revenues.
But Senator Durbin has also taken multiple campaign contributions from Monsanto and other pro-GMO bodies as well.