I oppose "corporate welfare", i.e. the practice of using "incentives" to bring a company facility to North Carolina or to keep a company from leaving our state.
I don't mind when the State tries to attract a new company by building more or better roads, investing more in the local schools, or building or improving infrastructure like sewer and water systems. I do mind when the State allows a particular company that it is trying to entice to avoid paying corporate or property taxes. In that case, the State is taking taxpayer money to bribe a private entity. Let me explain why that ploy is wrong by looking at the current Goodyear incentives scheme the Governor just vetoed.
Goodyear is threatening to lay off workers at its Fayetteville factory and possibly close the facility down or move it out of state unless it gets "incentives", including not having to pay $4 million dollars of property tax per year for the next ten years.
In effect, Goodyear is holding its employees hostage. Rather than "corporate welfare", a more apt name is "corporate extortion". If the State gives in to Goodyear's demand, as it has in the past with other companies, it just invites more companies to threaten layoffs to extort State payoffs.
I compare the scenario to kidnapping. When the Taliban or Al Qaeda kidnap charity workers and schoolteachers and missionaries, and then receive a ransom for their release, they just continue taking more hostages. That's why governments don't negotiate with terrorists. Paying them off only encourages and rewards the same obnoxious behavior, guaranteeing that it will continue.
North Carolina should not want companies lining up to ask for "ransom" money to preserve their employees' jobs. If Goodyear gets away with this outrageous behavior, others will surely emulate it. Taxpayers should only give away their money to companies as consumers buying goods and services, not as extorted ransom to save hostaged employees.
I'm all for capitalism and free markets, so I'm not against companies. But in a free market, companies stand or fall on their own merits. The State should not give away your money and mine to bail out unsuccessful companies. As an aside, incentives are unfair because they only target one or few companies and not all. If North Carolina really wanted to attract and retain companies, and if North Carolina Democrat-controlled Legislature really cared about workers, then they'd lower our State's high corporate income taxes to attract businesses and jobs. That common-sense action would benefit all companies, and not just the ones that have the gall to approach the State with its hands out. Or in Goodyear's case, with one hand out and other hand holding a gun to their employees' heads.
You might say "the union representing the Goodyear workers supports the incentives." But so what? Unions are notoriously poor at actually protecting their workers' jobs in the long term, while only thinking in the short term. Just look at how non-government union membership has dwindled over the decades. Or how the unions have contributed to bringing down whole industries (e.g. steel) in this country.
This State should not reward Goodyear's failure to upgrade their Fayetteville plant to make it more competitive, or to reward the mistakes of Goodyear's management and union. The taxpayers should consider it scandalous for North Carolina to reward Goodyear's economic terrorism.
-"Paladin" is a regular reader of Katy's Conservative Corner (and many other blogs) and this is his first contribution to any blog.