June 5, 2018 — Workers and allies from the Freedom Cities movement will be protesting on today at the annual REITWeek investor conference against the tax breaks and profits prison companies and lenders receive for criminalizing communities of color and immigrants. REITWeek will be attended by private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group, and sponsored by their major lenders JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. Today, these companies will also have to face protest by the Black and Brown communities they lobby to incarcerate, who are demanding that Congress revoke REIT for this parasitic industry.
Where: New York Hilton Midtown (1335 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019)
When: Tuesday June 5th at 3pm
CoreCivic and GEO Group converted to REIT status in 2013 to avoid paying 36% corporate tax rate. After reorganization, CoreCivic reported paying an effective tax rate in the first quarter of 2015 of just 3%. The GOP Tax Scam Act has made private prisons more profitable for their big bank and hedgefund investors, who will see a 25% reduction in tax on their prison investments, from 39.6% down to 29.6%. CoreCivic and GEO Group are reaping profits off of alleged forced labor in their detention centers, and detaining immigrant children.
Due to organizing by Enlace, leader in the Freedom Cities movement, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Ending Tax Breaks for Private Prisons bill in 2016. The bill was re-introduced in 2017 by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY). Last year, $4.1 billion was divested from private prisons and their lenders by universities, cities–including New York City–and grassroots organizations, as part of the Freedom Cities movement and Prison Divestment Campaign.
Today’s protest will renew demands for passage of the RevokeREIT bill, and call on NYC to continue divesting from criminalization, by defunding police.
Freedom Cities is an intersectional movement that seeks to redefine safety, making entire cities, towns, and communities safe for immigrants, Black people, workers, Muslims, trans and gender nonconforming people, and all oppressed communities. The movement was born from the vision of New York’s essential workers — the restaurant workers, retail workers, taxi drivers, day laborers, street vendors and others whose work is undervalued and whose existence is often criminalized.