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

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