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Wal-Mart Attacked for Big Tax Breaks

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Wal-Mart, one of the nation's largest, most-profitable companies, has received $104 million in tax breaks for giving its executives huge bonuses, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The retail giant received tax write-offs for doling out $298 million in performance pay to executives over the last six years, according to the report's authors, the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington think tank, and Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state organizations for tax reform. Such loopholes ultimately cost regular taxpayers dearly in terms of government service and higher tax rates, the groups said.

Frank Clemente, the executive director at Americans for Tax Fairness, called the tax break "outrageous" and added that it's "truly one of the most perverse loopholes of all time." Sarah Anderson, the global economy director at Institute for Policy Studies, said that the $104 million "would have been enough, for example, to cover the cost of providing free lunches for $33,000 children."

"What's even more outrageous is that this is a company that pays its workers so little that many of them must rely on such public assistance programs," she said in a statement. The groups released the report in prelude to Wal-Mart's annual meeting scheduled for June 6.

This isn't the first time that Wal-Mart has been targeted by the organization, a company spokesman said. "This is the same group that put out a similar flawed report last year based on promoting their agenda rather than on the facts," he said.     

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