Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Walker's Foxconn Debacle Good, Dem. Gov. Cooper's North Carolina Triangle Tyre Deal Bad?

How deep is the bullshit Scott Walker and the Republicans have been spreading in the media about their "once-in-a-lifetime" Foxconn deal? Neck deep, and we can thank North Carolina Republicans for exposing the lie.

Let's get a few things straight: Democrats have never been against a few job-creating corporate handouts. But nothing can compare to Scott Walker's "eggs in one basket" Foxconn debacle. It's also true Democrats don't like outright giveaways, like corporate tax cuts, with no promise of jobs.

Opposite Day, Everyday in North Carolina: This is the scenario playing out right now in North Carolina that's strangely the reverse of Wisconsin's Foxconn deal:
“The Jobs Governor” Roy Cooper ended his first year in office with a flurry of job announcements in December that featured at least 10 projects, including what he touted as the largest investment by a manufacturer ever in rural North Carolina ... corporate incentives in exchange for those promised jobs. No company gets tax credits if it doesn’t meet specific criteria.

He faces criticism from Republicans (who) say the jobs created in recent years are a result of lowering the tax rate on businesses ... criticize Cooper as a hypocrite for decrying cuts to business taxes as “corporate giveaways” while offering incentives to select companies that move here.
Republican Gov. Walker Good, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper Bad: Benchmarked job creating "corporate giveaway" vs Foxconn sellout + Republican-backed freeloading tax cuts.
Gov. Cooper said, “We can make targeted, accountable incentives for the creation of jobs. This makes sure that the incentives that you give to companies directly result in good-paying jobs for our people. And that’s a lot different than just across-the-board giveaways to corporations and the wealthy at the expense of education and tax cuts for the middle class, particularly with no guarantee that they’ll bring good-paying jobs to our state.”
But wait, they're criticizing a "corporate giveaway" offering incentives in North Carolina to Triangle Tyre while Scott Walker in Wisconsin is praised up and down for handing out "the biggest incentive packages ever promised a company to locate a plant in the United States." Oddly, Americans for Prosperity has decided to bash the Democratic governor of North Carolina for handing out a dramatically smaller amount of incentives than their favorite ass kisser in Wisconsin, Scott Walker. Hypocrites much? 
Americans for Prosperity and its branch aimed at young people, Generation Opportunity, launched digital media campaign “Reverse Robin Hood Cooper, that slam Cooper for offering “corporate welfare,” saying the state should stop offering incentives altogether because it’s an unfair use of taxpayer dollars. The organizations, which have received funding from groups linked to the Koch brothers.
It stuns the senses, doesn't it? Why no ads bashing Scott Walker? Even more bizarre, Republicans have the balls to repeat what Democrats have been saying for years, without any irony:
SpokeswomanAnna Beavon Gravely said, “We (millennials) are a generation very concerned with fairness and equality, and that same feeling applies to incentives. Corporate welfare is taxpayer money being given to rich businesses which takes away from people who are struggling to make it.
BAD NEWS for Walker's Foxconn mess: Looking back, how did similar "corporate giveaways" work out before in North Carolina?
Do incentives work? A 2015 review of incentives by WRAL found that for incentive projects announced from 2009 to 2012 (when Democrat Bev Perdue was governor) most of the jobs had failed to materialize.

Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute’s research director said the costs of corporate taxes pale in comparison to many other location-specific factors such as qualified workers, proximity to customers, and quality public services. “States would be better-served spending the money they use ‘smokestack chasing’ to making public investments – particularly investments in early childhood education.”
Which makes the outrageously costly Foxconn deal even worse than imagined, regardless of the amount of promised jobs:
1. The $3 billion incentive package used to lure Foxconn to Wisconsin to build a giant factory was only the beginning.

2. An additional cost is a $6.8 million advertising campaign to woo workers from out of state to work in Wisconsin, including at the new plant.

3. The Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County have also agreed to provide $764 million in tax incentives to help get the facility constructed, including buying the land and giving it to Foxconn for free. The measure also commits the state to paying 40 percent of local governments’ expenses for the plant “if ever called upon to do so.”

4. The state expects to spend about $400 million on road improvements, including adding two lanes to the nearby Interstate 94. And it's seeking $246 million more in federal money to help pay for the interstate expansion.

5. In addition, the local electric utility is upgrading its lines and adding substations to provide the necessary power that will be used by the plant, at a cost of $140 million. The cost of those projects will be paid by 5 million customers in the area.

6. While the state touts Foxconn's plans for 13,000 workers, the company has only committed to hiring 3,000 at this point.

7. And, according to Wisconsin's estimates, it will take until at least 2043 for the state to recoup that lost tax revenue ... the total cost is nearly $4.1 billion, to get a $9 billion plant. That’s astounding: a cost of $1,774 per household in Wisconsin.
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