Sunday, December 17, 2017

Letters: Don't waste tax money on corporate incentives

Are we a nation of incentives gone wild? | Dec. 9

Don't waste taxes on incentives

Whatever happened to the belief (and one-time Republican mantra) that government has no business picking winners and losers? What could be a more blatant example of that than giving incentives to individual companies?

The lines between incentives, subsidies, tax breaks and bribes are easily blurred. Is there really any difference between exempting a company from impact fees, granting it a reduced tax bill, or writing it a check? Either way, the company benefits at taxpayers' expense.

No matter what form they take or what they are called, incentives are unfair to all other established competitors.

Especially when financial assistance is used to lure large corporate franchises, who have a history of putting locally owned shops out of business. The result is not just a loss of jobs, but a loss of livelihoods when long-time owners close their doors. On top of that, much of the money spent at chains ends up leaving the region to line the pockets of out-of-town executives and shareholders.

Besides, do we truly want companies whose decision on where to be is dependent on which local government provides the biggest subsidy? How likely is a company to give back to the community when their decision to be here was determined by how much they got from us?

Granting incentives reflects a willingness to get short-term gains at long-term cost. If we had the foresight to think longer term, we would instead allocate money towards making the community a better place to live, then let the area's quality of life sell itself. If a company sees market potential and appreciates what we have to offer, it will come. No bribes, ransom, payoffs or incentives necessary.

Chip Thomas, Tampa

Are we a nation of incentives gone wild? | Dec. 9

Use taxes to help the community

After reading this column, what comes to mind? Many of us older citizens can remember a time long ago when our local and state taxes were primarily for our roads, public works, fire and police needs, schools and libraries. Now we read that incentives are granted to businesses nationwide and that states, counties and cities give up more then $80 billion each year to companies.

With the practice of "whipsawing" — pitting one state/city/county against another for the most incentives involving public money — do we have to wonder why communities often struggle with budgets?

Can we return to the days of prioritizing our taxes for real community "needs" and forgo using our limited taxes for businesses if they want to relocate or expand? Can we return to the free-enterprise system as found in the definition of laissez faire?

Norm Lupo, Clearwater

Are we a nation of incentives gone wild? | Dec. 9

Keep following important issues

I'm so grateful that you're shining light on this topic. Keep up the great work.

Elaine Holmes, Tampa

Scott's jobs boss resigns | Dec. 5

Unequal rules on jobless benefits

It is with extreme puzzlement that I read Hunting Deutsch received unemployment benefits while vacationing in Europe. Do the same standards not apply to him?

Ready and able to work? Can you do face-to-face interviews while in Europe? Did he apply for five positions every week?

I ask because I have been awaiting an answer to my claim for over three months now. When I call they tell me to wait two weeks, but they will send an email. Then they hang up. Meanwhile my life is in a shambles. Yes for the record I am able, ready and willing to work, and I do at least five applications a week.

Remond Preece, Tampa

Fresh off victory, Doug Jones spends weekend in Key West

Fresh off victory, Doug Jones spends weekend in Key West

Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones was spotted in Key West over the weekend, celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and catching a Jimmy Buffett performance.A source told Politico that the Jones and his wife, Louise, showed up at Buffett's Margaritav...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Prosecutors oppose ex-congresswoman’s fraud sentence appeal

Prosecutors oppose ex-congresswoman’s fraud sentence appeal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Federal prosecutors are opposing ex-U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's request to remain free on bond while she appeals her fraud sentence.Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow filed the motion Sunday in U.S. District Court.Sevent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
'The Last Jedi' opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

'The Last Jedi' opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" rocketed to a debut of $220 million at the box office, landing the second-best opening weekend ever in North America and slotting in behind only its predecessor, "The Force Awakens."
Updated: 4 minutes ago

Kiradech Aphibarnrat among 9 players projected into Masters

Kiradech Aphibarnrat among 9 players projected to finish year in top 50 to earn invitations to Masters
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Mississippi shipyard gets initial $63M to repair destroyer

The U.S. Navy has awarded an initial $63 million contract to a Mississippi shipyard to repair a damaged destroyer
Updated: 8 minutes ago

MSNBC paid woman who said Chris Matthews harassed her

An MSNBC spokesman has confirmed a report saying a news channel staffer had been paid and left the job after complaining she was sexually harassed by 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews in 1999.
Updated: 10 minutes ago

AP Top News at 3:33 p.m. EST

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Macron: Talk to Assad now, he will answer for crimes later

French President Emmanuel Macron says he thinks the Islamic State group will be defeated in Syria by mid-February and that Syrian President Bashar Assad can't be ignored _ but must one day answer for his crimes
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Shepard scores 39, No. 2 Notre Dame women beat DePaul 91-82

Shepard scores 39, No. 2 Notre Dame women beat DePaul 91-82

Jessica Shepard scored a career-high 39 points as No. 2 Notre Dame withstood a 3-point barrage by DePaul for a 91-82 victory
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Clareth, Penn lead Siena past Bryant 87-68

Nico Clareth scored 19 points, Roman Penn had 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, and Siena made a season-high 12 3-pointers in a 87-68 victory over Bryant
Updated: 15 minutes ago