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Back Bay protesters voice opposition to Senate tax bill

Protesters Saturday rallied against the bill and against corporations they say avoid taxes, such as Apple.
Protesters Saturday rallied against the bill and against corporations they say avoid taxes, such as Apple.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Protesters took to Back Bay streets Saturday morning to voice their opposition to a sweeping $1.5 trillion federal tax overhaul passed by a 51 to 49 vote in the US Senate overnight.

About 30 people rallied on Boylston Street to chant; sing Christmas carols with revised, tax-themed lyrics; and march against the Republican-backed bill, which slashes the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent but provides only temporary cuts for individual taxpayers.

“Away in a haven, no taxes to pay, the big corporations lie so far away,” the protesters sang, to the tune of “Away in a Manger.”

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The protest took place outside an Apple store, organizers said, because the technology behemoth has sheltered more than $128 billion in profits offshore to avoid them being taxed in the United States, according to the New York Times.

“Apple Corporation is a notorious tax-avoider,” said Cole Harrison, executive director of Massachusetts Peace Action, one of the rally’s organizers. “They have set up fancy schemes that make it look like all their profits are overseas, instead of in the United States. They’ve been avoiding tax bills for years that way, but now the tax bill will make that even worse.”

A spokesman for Apple said the Times report was inaccurate and pointed to a lengthy statement the company released last month after the report was published that addresses its tax payments.

“Apple is the largest taxpayer in the world, paying over $35 billion in corporate income taxes in the last three years,” the spokesman, Josh Rosenstock, said in an e-mail. “Apple pays taxes in every country where we sell our products.”

Banners read “iPaid my taxes. Apple should too,” and “Not one penny in tax cuts for the rich,” a slogan of the Not One Penny campaign, a coalition of groups opposing the tax bill.

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Tillyruth Teixeira, 86, of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council said she worries for her four grandsons and her granddaughter because the bill would eliminate the tax deduction for interest paid on student loans.

She said the bill is “snake oil” Republicans have tried dishonestly to sell to the public.

“Figures don’t lie,” Teixeira said, “but liars figure.”


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.