If I had been present at today's meeting between President Obama and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, this is what I would have asked:
Question 1 for President Obama.
One of the greatest threats to education here in Oregon and all but a few states is the lack of revenues resulting from the Great Recession and the somewhat anemic recovery. Don’t profitable corporations like Intel have an obligation to start paying more in state corporate income taxes to fund the education system that they need and desire?
Question 2 for President Obama.
The company that your are touting today, Intel, has been very successful at playing states off against each other in bidding wars for tax cuts, and that has negatively affected the ability of Oregon and other states (notably New Mexico and Arizona) to fund education adequately. What should the federal government do to reign-in the interstate tax competition that has states bidding in a race to the bottom on funding for the education system you are advocating?
Questions to Intel CEO Paul Otellini (in front of the President):
Question 1 for Paul Otellini.
In 1997, Intel founder and then-CEO Andy Grove was featured in a full page ad in the New York Times thanking the City College of New York for giving him a scholarship and a great education when he arrived penniless from Hungary (PDF). To some, that ad speaks volumes about the role of public education in innovation in this country and in making Intel what it is today. If public education has been so important to Intel, why does Intel aggressively lobby to get out of paying taxes that support public education in the states where you operate?
Question 2 for Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
You often boast about your tax deductible contributions to science and math education, but you’ve also been successful in demanding tax cuts in the states and communities where you have production and research facilities. How do you justify stripping states and communities of the revenue they need for funding the education goals of the President?
Unfortunately, I wasn't invited to the event to get the opportunity to ask the questions. And I'm not holding my breath for a response from Intel, though they certainly could do so here on BlueOregon.