(Almost) to the delight of this congenital right-winger, I’d at first thought the "report card" over at NC Policy Watch was going to end as strongly as it started:
The Dell and Google experiences have also highlighted the danger of over-bidding – that is, paying too much for the jobs that are created. Over-bidding is chiefly a result of the fact that corporations have most of the information. They know who and how much each jurisdiction is bidding, their own bottom line, and how the competition compares with respect to non-incentive strengths and weaknesses. Public sector officials are in the dark. The courted business is, therefore, in a stronger position to bluff and browbeat any community (especially a needy one) to do almost anything to make a deal.
But if you keep reading, the author – one William Schweke – is laboring under the same conceit as economic development bureacrats in Raleigh. That is: he thinks governments can pick winners and losers, and plan economies. I’ve argued elsewhere that it just doesn’t work. I’ve given a more abstract argument here. And while I understand we’re in a bitter competition with other states, we’re still better off if we create a hospitable, fair tax environment across the board–a tax environment that doesn’t privelege megacorporations over small businesses, or the reverse for that matter. I’m frankly surprised that the progressives are this utilitarian in supporting such corporate welfare over at NC Policy Watch. In short, offering a report card of economic development concedes a false premise: that it works.