Editorial: Automaker incentives likely to be approved

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Gov. Phil Bryant has called a special session tomorrow so legislators can approve an incentive package announced for an automaker looking to locate in West Point.
Editor and Publisher of The Greenwood Commonwealth, Tim Kalich, writes that — regardless of details — the incentive package that is proposed is likely to be approved.

Mississippi does a poor job of evaluating incentives

Gov. Phil Bryant has called a special session tomorrow so legislators can approve an incentive package announced for an automaker looking to locate in West Point.

Editor and Publisher of The Greenwood Commonwealth, Tim Kalich, writes that — regardless of details — the incentive package that is proposed is likely to be approved:

“No matter who it is or where it is, lawmakers are almost certain to approve the incentive package. They always do. Over the past 20 years, they have become indoctrinated in the the belief that if they don’t pony up for any big company that holds out his hand, the jobs will go elsewhere. Yet few in public office … ever really dig down to find out whether the public investments truly paid off.”

>> See “Editorial: Bipartisan group wants analysis on special-interest tax breaks.”

He aptly summarizes the subsidy-dance now done by politicians everywhere:

“Not only do state and local governments keep poor records on how much they are shelling out in incentives, they are also lax on measuring what the taxpayers get in return. …

“Corporations take advantage of elected officials’ race for boasting rights about job creation and their fear of retribution from voters if the jobs go elsewhere. They pit state against state, community against community in a bidding war that ratchets up the incentive packages to the point where they may be a net tax loser: that is, the cost of the giveaways if more than the taxes generated by the jobs created, thus further straining the ability of local governments to pay for education, infrastructure, health care and other basic needs.”

By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, Mississippi’s left-leaning are using Republicans’ enthusiasm for ill-conceived incentives to justify Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Kalich writes:

“Ironically, these same Republicans say the state can’t afford spending $1 to expand Medicaid for $12 in return of federal money — a much better deal than the (Rankin County outlet mall) retail boondoggle.”

>> See “Mississippi Incentives Report 2012.”

>> See “Bill would increase transparency of MDA subsidies.”

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