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View Diary: Corporations get billions from cities and states but they often don't keep their end of the bargain (135 comments)

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  •  sure, the details may not be there (0+ / 0-)

    my point is simply that these are not infrequent events.

    However, whether 'promises' are kept is not the issue and I believe that is a narrow appreciation of this problem. There is a clear unfairness to select companies getting special treatment - with everyone else having to make up the difference while some other municipality may also lose out in the process - regardless of whether 'promises' are kept. The only winners in this are the businesses that exert leverage to get what they want. Collectively, the rest of us lose.

    •  I agree that broken promises aren't the only... (2+ / 0-)
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      LinSea, Loonesta

      ...problem, which I think I made clear in my diary. This is a matter essentially of communities signing over a chunk of their revenue (obtained from existing taxpayers, both individual and business) to an outside company (or to one that says it may have to leave if it doesn't get some relief).

      I also agree that these aren't infrequent events, which is one of the Times's main points in this series. But I will wager that not more than 5% of Americans know this goes on and, except in the smaller communities, have little to no idea which companies have received incentives.

      I covered two big issues of this sort for alternative publications in the '80s (other traditional local papers didn't cover them until a long time later).

      In Boulder, Colorado, the computer company DEC got the city council to approve industrial development bonds and supply infrastructure upgrades, and got the school board to approve the construction of a new elementary school. All for a new branch facility DEC would bring to the city. The company promised a few hundred jobs and, of course, made the usual noise about improving the tax base. A few years later, DEC was bought by Compaq and the Boulder facility was closed entirely, leaving the local taxpayers on the hook.

      Exxon wrote in a notorious "White Paper" in 1980 that stated, by 2010, there would be 1.5 million in western Colorado pumping out 8 million barrels of oil shale a day. Cities like Parachute and Rifle (and counties) prepared by passing bonds to extend their sewer and water, build new schools, approved housing developments, etc. In 1982, Exxon pulled out of its oil shale operation. Eventually, the state bailed the local governments out to avoid their bankruptcy.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 11:13:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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