States regularly offer tax incentives (or, depending on your point of view, corporate welfare) to major corporations in exchange for promises of expansion, corporate relocation, retention of old jobs, creation of new jobs, and anything else with the word ‘jobs’ in the sentence. If you think about it, it’s an almost mindless rush to the bottom: the more tax incentives that get offered, the lower overall corporate taxes paid to all states and the more states will have to look to other sources (that’s you, Mr. & Ms. Non-Corporation) to make up the difference.
Now at least one state politician is trying to reverse this trend, or at least slow it down. The New York Times reports that Missouri governor Jay Nixon has called for a halt to the tax incentive border war between that state and Kansas.
“That is bad for taxpayers,” Mr. Nixon said of the moving of jobs. “It’s bad for our state budget, and it’s not good for our economy.”
Meanwhile, the Washington State legislature has just passed what Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat reports is the largest state tax subsidy in history—more than $8 billion-with-a-B in corporate tax breaks — almost entirely for Boeing-with-a-B — over 15 years.