Friday, April 13, 2007

Idaho?s own corporate cover-up


Smoothies at the Idaho State Tax Commission seem to regard the public as undeserving rubes who just fell off the turnip truck.

Why else the full-fledged commission cover-up to conceal paperwork involved in handing out a major tax break to a Wall Street corporation?

Not everyone has accepted this finger in the eye. The Idaho Statesman has wisely sued to force the commission to open tax-exemption paperwork involving Cabela's, a giant retail and catalog sports gear corporation, whose online Internet sales were generously exempted from Idaho sales taxes with a blatantly deceitful description that minimized Cabela's "presence" in Idaho.

It's a familiar smokescreen the commission is using for handing out favors to big business—claiming that disclosing Cabela's financial data would reveal proprietary information to competitors.

Hogwash. The Boise newspaper doesn't even want financial data, just Tax Commission papers justifying the exemption.

Cabela's is a $2 billion, shareholder-owned corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange, whose 2006 annual report also is online—all 114 pages with minutia about sources of income and how much, liabilities and how much, and, yes, income taxes and how much, among other things.

What's the State Tax Commission hiding that it considers privileged? Has Cabela's told it something that it won't tell shareholders in its government-required annual report?

If Cabela's shareholders, the NYSE, the Securities and Exchange Commission and financial media know the company's financial situation, what else went on in those secret deliberations?




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