How to Save Taxpayers $80 Billion a Year
Every year, state and local governments hand out $80 billion worth of subsidies to large corporations. Is this where you want YOUR tax dollars going?
As this column by Neal Peirce says: “It should be called for what it is: corporate grand larceny, aimed at your tax dollars, your public services and mine.”
These taxpayer handouts consist of tax credits and exemptions, cash grants, property tax abatements, and free buildings, among other giveaways.
These corporate VIPs probably aren’t the same “47-percenters” that Mitt Romney was ranting about, but they’re draining the public treasury just the same. The column continues:
“And what are the companies providing in return? Promises, promises. They assure some city, county or state that with a payout from the public treasury, they’ll move their office or plant into the ‘lucky’ jurisdiction. Or alternatively, they won’t desert a facility that’s already there.”
These corporate welfare cheats include manufacturing companies, large banks, fossil fuel conglomerates, tech and entertainment companies and big box stores. Stadiums — which the author doesn’t mention — have always been the most blatant example of this, IMHO. A few multi-millionaire team owners will con gazillions of tax dollars out of a city in return for an even bigger glitzier stadium. They always have statistics showing how many megabazillions of dollars will be brought into the city by sports fans, without mentioning the megabazillions of dollars that the city will have to spend on overtime pay for police and other first responders, and the lost productivity caused by monster traffic jams before, during and after each game.
Neal Peirce’s column is based partly on a New York Times investigation by Louise Story, and partly on the work of Good Jobs First. The founder of Good Jobs First, Greg LeRoy, wrote a book in 2005 titled “The Great American Jobs Scam.”
Another staff member of Good Jobs First — Phil Mattera — has created a site called Subsidy Tracker: “Discover Where Corporations Are Getting Taxpayer Handouts Across the United States.”
Good Jobs First and Subsidy Tracker are both worth bookmarking. With federal and state lawmakers getting ready to cut and slice and dice in the name of deficit reduction, these corporate giveaways need to be on the chopping block.