Money for Nothing and Your Taxes for Free

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Not being privy to behind-the-scenes discussions (which, come to think of it is a core problem of government-driven “economic development”), I’m not going to trash the tax credit deal given to Greystone of Lincoln.  It could be a modest early success in a generally wrong-headed strategy.  That said, something in Kate Bramson’s Providence Journal reportage gives me the impression that the free taxpayer money didn’t ultimately save or create any jobs that wouldn’t have been saved or created, anyway:

In an interview after the meeting, [David Buehler, Greystone of Lincoln general manager,] said the Virginia expansion was “certainly a strong option being considered” because there’s room in the company’s facility there, and that space has the necessary power, compressed air and other infrastructure.

“I don’t know how this all would have played out without the incentive program, but what I can tell you is certainly it was a strong factor to say, ‘Let’s go with this. It sounds like a sound decision,'” Buehler said of the Rhode Island expansion.

A guy whose company just inked a deal for a free half-million dollars isn’t going to tell a reporter that the taxpayers’ money bought the state a sunrise.  At best, this money continues Rhode Island’s trend of helping established players grow a little bit over time, while taking resources and opportunity from the entrepreneurial sector.  At worst, it was just another expensive shiny thing for politicians to flash in the cold sunlight to make it seem as if they’re doing something that’s “working.”



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