Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unionization and An End to Corporate Welfare: Two Great Tastes That Go Great Together

The UAW is attempting to unionize a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Republican elected officials are threatening to stop giving out "incentives" in the form of mammoth tax breaks if the union vote succeeds. I don't know about you, dear reader, but to me this sounds like having your cake and eating it too.

There are good reasons to recruit large manufacturers to your municipality. The jobs they create pay good wages; the plants are very "sticky" so the jobs will last a decade if not much much longer; and you can use it to boost an ecosystem of manufacturing employment. But the tax breaks and free land that are the large attractions in these deals are a little unseemly. We'd be much better off if governments focused on providing quality public services that these manufacturers need--education, transportation, management of health care costs--rather than just tossing money from the "Economic Development" slush fund at large corporations.
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