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Monday, December 9, 2013

Johnston: Billions of Tax Dollars Later, No New Jobs for New York

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)David Cay Johnston (Syracuse), Billions of Tax Dollars Later, No New Jobs for New York, 70 State Tax Notes 609 (Dec. 8, 2013):

The fast-increasing use of tax incentives by all 50 states has failed to increase jobs or investment, two respected experts on state tax policy found after reviewing more than 50 years of giveaways. [Marilyn M. Rubin & Donald J. Boyd, New York State Business Tax Credits: Analysis and Evaluation (Nov. 2013).]

This year, state government subsidies to corporations, partnerships, and other businesses in New York state alone will total $1.7 billion, triple the giveaways in 2005, according to the new study. That's $235 taken from the average Empire State household this year and redistributed to business owners on the theory that redistribution will create jobs.

During those years, the number of jobs in New York declined, the state's official jobs data website shows. The total number of New Yorkers employed in 2012 was down 175,000, or 2 percent, compared with 2005. Think of it this way: Over nine years, the state of New York gave businesses roughly $10 billion, or almost $1,400 from each household, in a jobs program that eliminated 175,000 jobs at an average cost of $57,000.

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It's not possible to know how many jobs would have been lost in the absence of special tax breaks.

Also, one man's collective action problem is another man's healthy tax competition.

That said, I'm no fan of narrowly targeted tax breaks. The potential for corruption is too high, giving public money to people with the right political connections.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Dec 9, 2013 9:34:45 AM