Annals of corporate welfare | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 9, 2008

Annals of corporate welfare

Posted By on Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 8:22 PM

The Jefferson County Quorum Court has voted to ask voters at a special election Aug. 12 to approve a 10-year half-cent sales tax to produce an estimated $4.5 million to spend on worker training and economic development grants (read handouts to potential businesses.)

It wasn't bad enough when states began competing to see who could give away the most to lure businesses. Now the cities and counties are at it.

In the end, of course, any business will accept this money and gratefully credit the far-thinking local leaders for providing the gratuity. But their decisions will still be guided in the main by available workforce, raw materials where needed, water (if it hasn't already been drained by a greedy industry), transportation, work ethic, state business climate, etc.

An appointed board will dole out the money if voters approve -- I hope in sunshine. I understand Jefferson County's desperation. I think it's worth examining the conditions that contributed to its condition, however. No fair assessment would put a lack of corporate welfare money at the top of the list.

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