Burr tours corporate welfare recipients to tout corporate tax breaks, fails to draw the obvious lesson

The obvious lesson is, as I’ve stated over

economic incentives programs are a tacit admission by state policymakers that lower taxes and regulations would attract more industry to North Carolina. The question then becomes: Why do it just for select industries? Why not lower taxes and regulations across the board?

and over

at the heart of every incentives scheme, there is an admission by politicians that they fully know that lower taxes and regulations would attract more industry to the state. … Eliminating the corporate income tax — in other words, an all-inclusive, across-the-board economic incentive for every business and industry — would have strong, positive, permanent effects on the state’s economy.

and over:

If state leaders are unhappy with the pace of increased investment, economic growth, and job creation, then they should consider scrapping the corporate income tax altogether — which would be an all-comers economic development incentive, cutting the tax for everyone without playing favorites.

And now, the news:

MILLS RIVER – The best thing the federal government can do to encourage the growth of manufacturing is “to get the hell out of the way,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said Monday following a tour of the Sierra Nevada brewery and nearby Continental plant. …

Aside from butting out of their business, Burr said the government can help companies like Sierra Nevada by slashing the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and encouraging the exploration of natural gas to assure electricity costs remain stable.

Burr’s visit was part of a two-day swing through the western half of the state, where the Republican senator spent Monday touring the Nesbitt Discovery Academy and GE Aviation plant in Asheville, Continental’s expanding plant in Fletcher and capped it off with a cold beer at Sierra Nevada.

As a matter of fact, government has helped companies like Sierra Nevada by slashing the corporate tax rate —namely, Sierra Nevada’s, GE Aviation’s, and Continental’s:

  • Sierra Nevada: $3.75 million in tax incentives and infrastructure from Henderson County; a $1 million grant from the State of North Carolina.
  • GE Aviation: Up to $4.82 million from the State of North Carolina — up to $3.57 million from the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) fund and up to $1.25 million from the One North Carolina Fund.
  •  Continental: Up to $2.16 million from the State of North Carolina (JDIG)

It would have been nice if the senator had acknowledged how corporate tax cuts had paved the way for those particular companies to grow and create jobs in North Carolina. It would have been better if such job creation hadn’t been made possible by higher corporate tax rates on surrounding business already employing people and doing business in our state.

It might have made his host corporations a little uncomfortable, perhaps.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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