Hypocrite Mike Turner- and the truth about tax incentives for economic development

I guess it’s OK for people in Georgia to pay for stealing our tax base, but, not OK for us to pay for the move.

At least that’s the logic that comes from our soul for hire Congressman Mike Turner:

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, argued that the stimulus request was part of an overall consolidation of jobs in Georgia stemming from NCR’s decision to move its world headquarters from Dayton to suburban Atlanta.

“The consolidation created, which included jobs from Ohio, is one big project and cannot be separated,” Turner said. “The administration has prevented Georgia from using our tax dollars to take jobs from Ohio.”

via Georgia city is denied $5.5M for NCR.

Of course, the City of Columbus Georgia has no shame, sucking up to NCR like a sick kid to ice cream. They will now pay for NCR’s “gift” of jobs out of their own cash tapped pockets. All while, CEO Bill Nuti hauls in his $2K hourly wage. That’s money paid to local government for the delivery of basic services like police and fire- going to pay for the promise of a few jobs, with no true guarantee of payback. If you need an example of how this kind of deal fails- look no farther than Springfield Ohio- that lavished money on local firm Qbase, with the promise of 100+ jobs in two years- only to see less than 5. See this post on the original deal- “Bad investments by government”

In fact, QBase went as far as to tell its Greene County employees to file taxes as working in Clark County. At least two employees, were advised by their CPA’s to file to get those taxes back- and did- showing work schedules that proved they worked less than 20 days in the Clark County masquerade. Unfortunately, real investigative journalism no longer happens in Cox Ohio land (publisher of the Dayton Daily News and The Springfield News Sun).

These kind of deals are pure poison to local governments who count on the short memories of tax payers, and political smoke and mirrors to distract people from gross misuse of tax dollars.

Turner, of course has no problems with giving away our tax dollars to private businesses- he was all for an earmark to NCR for work at WPAFB before they announced their move- but then turned around and told them to buy a Congressman in Georgia instead. See this post: Congressman Turner admits he’s for sale

He also has no problems with Qbase- an odd company that hires the same firm (Real Art) that his wife works with to deliver on no bid contracts to the Dayton Development Coalition. If you remember- The Turner Effect recklessly overcharged for the hapless “Get Midwest” campaign that came in at almost a million dollars. You can brush up on this Turner side show here: http://esrati.com/?cat=201 It still boggles my mind how a Congressman’s wife can have a GSA schedule to do work for the Government, or do work for Political Action Committees without serious ethics questions.

The reality is- tax dollars shouldn’t be used to “create jobs”- except for the delivery of services directly received by the tax payer. Police, fire, water, sewer, courts, street maintenance are all good investments for the common good.

Taxes supporting some industries while ignoring others are just a plain and simple redistribution of wealth. In fact, maybe the first law to be passed is that any corporation that has a Political Action Committee, or spends money on lobbyists- should be precluded from receiving any tax dollars for a period of at least 5 years. Turner used to receive significant backing from NCR and their PAC.

This won’t stop the kind of manipulation done by a company like Qbase which pushes employees to donate to politicians (Democrats and Republicans) as part of their employment (Qbase pushed employees to attend a $500 per couple fund raiser for Ted Strickland and also for top management to give $1000 ea to Congressman Steve Austria). The only thing that can clear this mess up is when someone from the Clark County Auditors office starts investigating where those 100+ jobs are (Qbase at top employment only reached 120- nationally) and what really came in from that investment.

Jobs come to communities where people want to live and work. Fundamentally, I believe that a level playing field should be one of the foremost goals of government. When we play favorites- as Turner has shown to do, all it does is leave us with memories of what we did when we did have money and the cash cow that fed us and them- as we continued to milk the system dry with our own short-sightedness.

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6 Responses

  1. truddick August 15, 2009 / 2:17 pm

    David, I disagree on whether government should use public dollars to encourage particular types of endeavor.  Would you agree that the National Endowment for the Arts ought to continue to make grants (perhaps with the proviso that the grants be used more for education and preservation and restoration and revitalization of the classics, rather than for ‘cutting edge’ art that has yet to prove its long-term influence)?
    I think the long-term solutions to the problem you’re defining here would involve national laws (probably constitutional amendments) to prevent lawmakers from getting involved in this sort of pocket poker.  Specifically:
    1.  Forbid government at any level from creating individual tax rates.  In other words, make each tax apply to all who qualify under broad criteria.  No more setting one tax rate for Uno’s Pizza without automatically applying it to every pizza place in town.
    2.  Restrict tax laws to revenue only.  If the government wants to encourage something (enterprise, home ownership, charity) then require them to do it via grant programs.  This permits the government to exercise tighter control on expenditures, and additionally simplifies taxes so that we won’t have to spend several days annually filing forms.
    An additional improvement might involve an automatic pay-go system, whereby tax rates would be set automatically to cover all government expenditures (based on conservative estimates of future revenues).  Then we’d eliminate the de facto extortion of representatives who promise not to raise taxes–but then threaten to withhold state funding for public projects unless citizens vote to raise taxes.

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  2. David Esrati August 15, 2009 / 3:09 pm

    @truddick -

    arts orgs are normally non-profit.

    A constitutional amendment is due- that State and Local governments can’t grant tax breaks- or “compete” by buying “jobs.”

     

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  3. concerned November 4, 2009 / 9:03 am

    interesting how I was interviewing with QBase and my gut feeling along with those in the know suggested it may not be my best next step.  It also looked as though the job I was applying for ended up looking exactly like a job that was listed later as an “intern” position……anyone have an opinion on that???

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  4. jstults June 13, 2010 / 11:24 am

    David:

    A constitutional amendment is due…

    No need.

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  5. David Esrati June 13, 2010 / 12:00 pm

    @jstults- as always, I appreciate the input of those smarter than me. Thanks for the link to the “commerce clause” of the Constitution. I’m going to do some serious study.

    Thanks.

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