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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Job creators?

Tax breaks aren't forever. Or at least they shouldn't be.

But one thing is very clear from the chart that accompanies the Globe's story on a new study showing that business tax breaks have doubled since 1996, with continued upward growth even as the economy faltered.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center review seems to offer a convincing rebuttal to the Republican argument that tax policy is the key to job creation.

Maybe if you are Seth McFarlane.

Yes, the surge in locally made feature films has been a boost to our fledgling film industry. But I can't help but recall long lines of trailers with California license plates doing catering at film shoots like The Town.

And the state Department of Revenue estimates the film tax credit costs more than $142,000 per job for local residents.

At least those are jobs associated with the estimated $26 billion in tax credits the state hands out, about $4 billion more than it takes in to pay for education,  public safety, transportation and infrastructure. Or more than what it cost to build the bloated Big Dig.

The report notes Liberty Mutual is getting $22.5 million in state tax credits to help build a new office tower near its Back Bay headquarters. You know, the company that may wind up spending that much just to furnish the CEO's office in its current and new location.

Or Fidelity Investments, which has consistently moved jobs to New Hampshire and Rhode Island since getting Massachusetts tax breaks nearly two decades ago.

There are valid reasons to offer targeted and time-limited tax breaks to companies that look to grow and build. But they should be carefully evaluated and not be allowed to continue forever, even after conditions changes and companies realign their priorities.

Want a bright side to this sobering look at the unequal treatment between businesses and individuals? At least Massachusetts didn't invest in Curt Schilling.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't our leaders show some courage and stop giving breaks to large corporations and entities where the top paid employees make say 100 times the pay of the lowest employee. Give the breaks to the <20 employee companies that are always touted as the backbone of our economy. In these companies the top people make maybe 10 times the lowest employee. Then we won't be subsidizing the Krafts and Tom Brady and the Brad Pitts of the world. It'll be Sam's roofing and Bill's corner pub. Who's in charge of this state?

August 07, 2012 8:44 AM  

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