What's wrong with Welfare?
For Texas Republicans it's fine as long as it goes to big business.
An examination into corporate incentives that has become standard operating procedure for state and local governments across the country, the New York Times takes a special look at Texas in: Lines Blur as Texas Gives Industries a Bonanza, and presents some startling numbers of of tax breaks and subsidies fostered by Rick Perry and his gang to corporations at the cost of limiting basic services to Texans. That article is worth a total read as it names names and connections.
Rick Perry has made corporate recruitment a hallmark of his administration making frequent trips to lure prospective businesses while at the same time preaching austerity for the masses and cutting services to the population. Texas gave up more than $250 million in tax revenues to Amazon alone, in exchange for 2,500 jobs (amounts to about $100,000 per job. (for workers are paid $20,000 to $30,000 a year)) prior to a dispute and standoff with the state over sales tax collection. More about the actual jobs in the Times article.
Under Mr. Perry, Texas gives out more of the incentives than any other state, around $19 billion a year, an examination by The New York Times has found. Texas justifies its largess by pointing out that it is home to half of all the private sector jobs created over the last decade nationwide.Perry established the Texas Enterprise Fund that awarded more than $410 million outright over eight years and developed enterprise zones where companies can receive exemptions that add up to big money for retailers like Walmart. Incentives have gone to General Motors, Tyson Foods and the German chemical giant BASF. Much of these incentives come out of school budgets despite the reputation, rankings and drop-out rate of Texas schools.
To help balance its budget last year, Texas cut public education spending by $5.4 billion — a significant decrease considering that it already ranked 11th from the bottom among all states in per-pupil financing, according to recent data from the Census Bureau. Yet highly profitable companies like Dow Chemical and Texas Instruments continue to enjoy hefty discounts on their school tax bills through one of the state’s economic development programs.To its defenders Texas is an economic powerhouse, the only big state that weathered the recession with aplomb, a place where people from all over the world can still pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The critics argue that Texas has managed that by selling itself for parts; the state may have low taxes and lots of jobs, but at a serious cost to its schools, infrastructure and environment.
“Facebook, eBay, Apple — all of those within the last two years have announced major expansions in Texas,” Mr. Perry said. “They’re coming because it is given, it is covenant, in these boardrooms across America, that our tax structure, regulatory climate and legal environment are very positive to those businesses.”Perry has acknowledged that the state’s job growth was not erasing persistent poverty, saying that “we are going to have people that fall through the cracks.” He said creating jobs was the best way to help Texans, who “don’t want government assistance when they can do it themselves.”
Gail Collins looks at the state’s staggering inequality, casual embrace of crony capitalism and creaky educational pipeline and warns in: As Texas Goes...:, "what happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas anymore."
Through its vigorous support of banking deregulation, lax environmental standards, and draconian tax cuts, through its fierce championing of states rights, gun ownership, and, of course, sexual abstinence, Texas, with Governor Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions, has become the bellwether of a far-reaching national movement that continues to have profound social and economic consequences for us all. Like it or not, as Texas goes, so goes the nation.Texas is leading the way: Corporate Welfare and Incentives are considered good. To heck with people.
For a breakdown of subsidies see: Texas
Texas spends at least $19.1 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:
per dollar of state budget
That's over half the state budget, folks. Just think of what could be done with that money were it directed to people and programs that really need it.