Tax Bait for Trophy Companies

Source: Jackson Brainerd, State Legislatures Magazine, May 2015

Big corporations have been lured by tax incentives to expand in or locate to a state. Are they worth it? ….Improving the business climate and spurring economic growth are top priorities for most state legislators. And although many economic development strategies—such as income tax cuts and workforce training—can get mired in partisan rhetoric, megadeals offering substantial tax incentives to single, lucrative corporations, enjoy unusual bipartisan support. And the bait is increasing. Of the 20 largest incentive deals ever, all valued at $800 million or more, 19 occurred since 2000 and 11 since 2010…. Whether incentives are actually do-or-die policy is difficult to prove; there isn’t much evidence either way….