How should local governments use tax abatements?

Tax abatements to lure industries are the subject of this week’s editorial in the Barrow Journal. Some counties do those the right way, but Barrow’s latest deal raises some serious questions.

http://www.barrowjournal.com/archives/5524-Tax-abatement-wasnt-a-good-deal-for-Barrow-County.html

The AJC also had an article Friday on that issue:

Jobs carry a high price tag

By Richard Halicks
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
4:19 a.m. Friday, August 5, 2011
Researchers at the University of North Carolina discovered a disturbing trend last year regarding businesses that accept state incentives and tax breaks in return for creating jobs.
Four in 10 of those companies did not create jobs. They actually cut them.
Georgia has spent more than a half-billion dollars in the past 10 years on similar tax breaks and incentives, and you’re probably wondering how our programs performed.
Keep on wondering.
The state Revenue Department receives corporate tax records each year, but the taxpayers of Georgia – who bear the budgetary burden from fewer tax collections – do not have the right to review those reports. So you often can’t find out whether a company has lived up to its promises.
Without question, companies receiving incentives have created thousands of jobs in Georgia. But it’s unclear whether the loans and grants are necessary.
“Obviously, we don’t know whether these programs are effective or not,” said Sarah Beth Gehl, deputy director of the nonpartisan Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. “There are valid purposes for certain incentives. But with any program we need to have transparency and accountability to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth.”
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About mikeb21081

Publisher Mainstreet Newspapers
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2 Responses to How should local governments use tax abatements?

  1. Sylvia McCart says:

    In the past three months or so, the Jackson County Road Department has invested a lot of time and money repairing the roads and working to create a safer and more esthetically pleasing right-of-way in the Staghorn Plantation Estates community. Years ago, the developer of Staghorn Plantation Estates asked that the right-of-ways of our roads be maintained privately. Some of these roads are over 20 years old and over the years many areas of the roads and right-of-ways fell into disrepair, even to the point of being unsafe. Many of us residents in Staghorn are very grateful to the Jackson County Road Department for what they have accomplished and the manner in which it was accomplished. It has been a long process and they did everything they could to minimize the inconvenience to the residents. They were always polite and courteous and have done a spectacular job. We just wanted to say THANK YOU!!

  2. Sylvia McCart says:

    I have an interesting opinion to share…In my opinion it is a fun opinion as well as important as I am a firm believer that we should always, if we can, support all of our businesses in Jackson County and keep our dollars at work here at home. I must admit I am not a cook…and that is the understatement of the century. Every Sunday my husband and I go to Cabin Creek BBQ in Nicholson to have Brunch (they have good ‘ole country cookin’ for Sunday brunch). One of the most endearing things my husband said to me was…”I wait all week for this. I am going to have to eat slower to savor it longer, because it is over so quickly”. He was referring to having the opportunity to eat a great home cooked country meal. Well, we traveled to North Georgia to spend the past weekend. On the way home on Sunday around Brunch time we were in the vicinity of the ‘Dillard House’. Now everyone who is someone in this area has heard of the ‘Dillard House” and the scrumptious food they serve. I must admit, we were compelled to stop to have a great meal for Sunday Brunch. The Dillard House virtually brings to your table a ‘feast’…. and I do mean a ‘feast’. And, we did enjoy every single bite! But back in the privacy of our vehicle I could not wait to say…”That was not anywhere near as good as what we have at home at Cabin Creek BBQ… I promise you Cabin Creek BBQ has more of a tasty selection, and though they do not bring every single item on their menu to your table, they insist that you do not leave until you have traveled through their scrumptious, tantalizing and mouth watering presentation of food until you have feasted to your desired limit. While the ‘Dillard House’ has a long-standing reputation of excellence, we have even better right here at home (but, you better come early). Let’s keep our economy dollars at home in this these trying times and support what we have at our fingertips. You will not be disappointed. I just thought this was a great opportunity to be proud of what we are able to achieve here in Jackson County!!

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