A Wichita Eagle story (Development speaker touts power of cash) reports on an economic incentive expert’s evaluation of our state’s effort.
(It’s revealing to learn that an accounting firm has someone with the title “regional leader of credits and incentives,” whose duty, evidently, it is to help companies figure out which state’s incentives are most valuable. Actually, since the title is “leader” there’s probably a whole department of people doing this.)
The problem with Kansas, according to this speaker, is that we grant tax credits to companies instead of outright cash. That puts our state at a competitive advantage compared to states that are willing to write checks upfront.
The subsidies offered can be staggering. It’s estimated that a Mercedez-Benz plant in Alabama cost that state over $150,000 per job created.
We should stop this competition among the states based on their willingness to spend taxpayer money to lure companies. As it is unlikely that any state will be willing to unilaterally stop this on their own, we need legislation at the federal level that will end this tremendous transfer of taxpayer funds to a few select companies.
Then, states can start competing on things that really matter, like a lower tax climate for everyone.