What can $300 million in evaded taxes buy?

From Education to Health Care, $300 Million in Evaded Taxes Would Come in Handy
February 20, 2009 1:29:34 PM PST
As the largest bank in Switzerland prepares to release the names of Americans suspected of using offshore accounts to evade taxes, ABCNews.com took a closer look at just what those tax dollars could have paid for stateside.To be sure, the $300 million a year in taxes The New York Times estimates that UBS allegedly helped Americans evade is a drop in the bucket when the Treasury is handing out trillions for various recovery programs. But with more than 400 banks in Switzerland, including Credit Suisse, the other major bank in the country, the sum total all these accounts hidden from US taxation could be much greater.

From providing tens of thousands of students a year's tuition at a university to replenishing the book supply in the Los Angeles, Calif., public libraries, the $300 million in lost taxes annually could have helped strapped cities and towns nationwide, not to mention the deficit-ridden federal government.

School Lunches

According to the Child Nutrition and Policy Center, $300 million goes a long way when it comes to school lunches. Erik Peterson, the spokesman for the organization, says that amount can provide free school meals to all children in U.S. schools for about four days. That's a total of 116 million meals at $2.57 per serving.

New Homes

How about a house or two for that sum? In Colorado Springs, Colo., the median sales price of an existing single-family home was $187,000 in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors. That means that $300 million could have paid for 1,604 homes in the picturesque community on the Front Range.


The best-selling car in the country, the Toyota Camry, could have its 18.5 gallon fuel tank pumped full more than 8 million times with $300 million dollars. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded fuel is currently $1.96, averaging at about $36.33 per Camry.

Unemployment Checks in Michigan State

The state of Michigan currently has the highest rate of unemployment in the nation at 9.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment office gives $300 in weekly benefits. So the $300 million is enough to pay unemployment compensation for 250,000 jobless Michigan residents for a whole month.

College Education

With in-state undergraduate tuition at the University of Florida totaling an average of $3,790 annually, nearly 20,000 students could have all four years at the university paid for with $300 million. The same amount of money would provide books and supplies for 78,125 in-state students at the average of $960 per year each.

Snow and Ice Removal

In Syracuse, N.Y., where it snows 115 inches in a typical year, the city sets aside more than $3 million to clean it up. Duties of this department include treating 244 miles of streets with salt and, when necessary, removing snow from 475 miles of streets.

So $300 million could pay for salting and snow removal for Syracuse, N.Y., for the next 83 years. Invest that sum at 5 percent annually and the interest alone could pay the snow budget of five Syracuses each year.

Hundreds of Town Budgets

In Pennsylvania, $300 million would go far in paying for the expenditures of a large slice of the state's municipalities. To be exact, the expenses of 1,155 municipalities in the Keystone State would exceed the $300 million mark just slightly, totaling $300,463,668.

Library Books

The annual budget for books in the Los Angeles Public Library system averages at around $7.7 million. That means that $300 million would put new books on the shelves in L.A. for 38 years.

Health Care

The National Coalition on Health Care estimates that in 2008, the annual premium for an employer health care plan covering a family of four averaged $12,700. For $300 million, you could cover health insurance for 23,622 people.

The annual premium for single coverage averages around $4,700, which would stretch $300 million to pay for the coverage of more than 63,000 individuals.

Flu Shots

The cost of one of the most popular flu vaccines, Fluzone, averages $9.96 per dose through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That's enough injections for 30 million flu-prone children.

So for those who want to jet to Switzerland to check on (or check out) their stash, Swiss Air, the country's national carrier, will jet you to Berne from New York in business class for just $9,402 roundtrip luggage is no extra charge.

With $300 million, in fact, 31,908 people could make the trip in style.

ABC News' research specialist Nick Tucker contributed to this report.