State and local governments waste billions of dollars each year on economic development subsidies given to companies for moving existing jobs from one state to another rather than focusing on the creation of truly new positions, according to a study released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, nonpartisan research center based in Washington, DC.
“What was long ago dubbed a Second War Between the States is, unfortunately, raging again in many parts of the country,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report. “The result is a vast waste of taxpayer funds, paying for the geographic reshuffling of existing jobs rather than new business activity. By pretending that these jobs are new, public officials and the recipient companies engage in what amounts to interstate job fraud.” [Study: States Waste Billions Luring Jobs from Each Other]Good Jobs First report, The Job Creation Shell Game:
This study describes how state and local governments waste billions of dollars each year on economic development subsidies given to companies for moving existing jobs from one state to another rather. It also looks at how the existence of relocation subsidies emboldens some large companies to demand large job blackmail subsidies to stay put. The report offers policy recommendations to address the problem.For more on wasteful corporate subsidies, see Good Jobs First's Paying Taxes To The Boss:
As Americans file their state income tax returns this month, some may dislike paying taxes but most take heart from the fact that their dollars support public schools and colleges, roads and transit, health care and public safety. However, for some people, the personal income taxes they see deducted from their paychecks aren’t supporting public services. Indeed, this is true for workers at more than 2,700 companies in 16 states.
Nearly $700 million is getting diverted each year. And it is very unlikely that the affected workers are aware, given that no state requires that the diversion be disclosed on pay stubs.
Where is the money going? To the employers of those workers. A growing number of states are diverting revenue traditionally devoted to funding essential government services to pay for lavish subsidy awards to corporations for job creation or sometimes simply job retention. The practice of redirecting large portions of the state personal income tax (PIT) withholding deducted from paychecks means many workers are, in effect, paying taxes to their boss.
Along with the worker deception, many of the programs are entwined with two of the most controversial practices in economic development: the economic war among the states and job blackmail. Many PIT diversions are paying corporations to simply relocate existing jobs from one state to another; others are used by states when they capitulate to companies that threaten to move to another state.