Corporate welfare and the uneven playing field

In the grand scheme of things, a half-million dollars won’t solve school funding, public safety issues or pave that many streets. But, doling out our tax dollars to private entities  as “economic development” is one more example of government not “sticking to the knitting” and wasting resources on speculation and playing favorites.

It’s not a local problem, if we don’t do it, someone else will- and that’s why it needs to be banned. Everywhere.

Public dollars for public works. If government wants to “help business” the best way to do it is to make doing business in this country easier- from how we have to collect and pay taxes (the “Ohio Business Gateway” is one of the worst web interfaces I’ve ever seen), to figuring out a more efficient way to provide health care (run away health care costs make our products more expensive- and are a major reason why small businesses can’t compete for the best talent).

Looking over these Economic Development/General Equity grants to business- just try to explain what this does to the “other guy”- who is trying to compete with these companies- and not getting the funding? How would you feel if it was your competition getting “free money” while you worked your ass off?

Brookville project favored for top ED/GE grant
On Friday, the ED/GE committee voted to recommend that the Montgomery County Commission approve granting $500,000 to move the project forward (the commission has final say on ED/GE grants). The cash would be used to offset the cost of acreage in the industrial park, which is valued at $900,000.

Additional incentives worth more than $14 million, which include in-kind services, have also been put on the table by the state and the city.

Remaining grant dollars recommended for approval Friday included:

• $300,000 to Prime Technology for the creation of a manufacturing, research and development facility at the Mound Advanced Technology Center in Miamisburg. The $843,000 project is expected to create 25 jobs.

• $275,000 for a proposed expansion of the call-center company InfoCision in Riverside. The $988,000 project is expected to create up to 150 jobs.

• $75,000 to help Dayton-based Nanoteck Instruments establish a nano-materials research and development facility at the Dayton Campus for Advanced Material Technologies. The $150,000 project would create 77 jobs.

• $250,000 for a proposed expansion of the Community Blood Center in Dayton. The $15 million project is expected to create 100 new jobs.

• $150,000 for a parking lot expansion at Vandalia-based Adena Tool Corporation. The $460,000 project is expected to retain 150 jobs.

• $100,000 to Behr Dayton Thermal Products Inc. to help fund upgrades to the company’s Webster Street facility in Dayton. The $5.8 million project promises to retain 1,400 jobs. • $100,000 for facility upgrades at AIDA American Corporation in Huber Heights. The $7 million project is expected to create 15 jobs.

The part that irks me the most about this program is that there is no follow up- if the “jobs” don’t come- there is no refund.  Would all these companies gladly give up their “grants” for a national health insurance program? I’m guessing yes. Would they give them up for lower workman’s comp rates? Sure. How about would they give them up for a much simpler tax collection system- probably? Or better yet- would they give them up for a totally level playing field- where they only had to compete based on their skills and abilities? I’d like to think so-

What do you think?

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1 Response

  1. Steven Cartwright May 1, 2007 / 9:07 am
    This isn’t really a reply to your post (although I agree with the idea about cities getting a refund on corporate tax abatements). I wanted to let you know about an interesting post on “Urban Review STL”, a blog from St. Louis. It’s the April 30 posting at http://www.urbanreviewstl.com/. It’s about the need for retail in urban areas and how retailers are beginning to recognize that big box stores are not the only way to push the merchandise. Now if city governments would think the same way. . .

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