From Reuters, as reprinted on Yahoo
American taxpayers are subsidizing bridges, subway systems and other infrastructure in Europe and elsewhere through corporate tax shelters that cost the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars, industry experts told a Senate panel on Tuesday.
Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee from behind a screen, a former leasing industry executive [Editorial Note: the executive went by the name of "Mr. Janet" during the interview] described complex transactions that involve companies paying lump sums to foreign towns and cities to lease bridges, dams, subways and other infrastructure.
They then lease the property back to the town or city for the sole purpose of cutting their U.S. tax bill by depreciating the asset. No lease payments are ever made and the town or city is in no danger of losing control of the subway or other asset, he explained.
So, not only is our tax money going towards paying for infrastructure improvements in foreign countries, those corporations that are engaged in such shady practices are bearing a lesser tax burden because of it.
But that's not all:
[Mr. Janet] told the panel that the tax shelter scheme has been so successful that U.S. cities are now doing the same, with the subway systems of Boston, Chicago and Washington having been leased back to U.S. corporations. He said he had reason to believe that New York and Chicago water authorities were about to lease the waterlines under their streets.
So, if I understand this correctly, we are paying for infrastructure improvements in other countries. Not only that, but the infrastructure improvements we've already paid for, over here, are being leased out to corporations, who lease it back again, meaning that our tax money essentially pays for the same thing twice over.