States Competing for Corporations

Competition is at the heart of America’s economic success, but not every type of contest benefits society.  Consider the growing trend of businesses cajoling states and politicians to compete for who can dole out the most corporate welfare.  It’s especially frustrating because there are already plenty of ways to promote job growth without robbing taxpayers.


States could start with eliminating tax carve outs and replacing them with lower-overall tax rates and lighter regulatory burdens.  Federal lawmakers could also do their part by lowering America’s highest-in-the-developed-world corporate tax rate.


Embracing these policies would protect taxpayers…multinational firms with multimillion-dollar profit margins.

You bet.  Lower-tax rate policies, among other things, would directly increase those entities’ profit margins by reducing the size of a cost center.  They also would let these entities lower their prices (if only slightly), which would increase their sales (if only slightly), which would then increase their profits if not their profit margins.

In the end, States compete better on the basis of who has the lower tax and regulatory rates over all rather than who gets to the better carve-outs and special treatments.  In fact, the carve-out/treatment path, among other things, leads to an enormously byzantine tax structure within which it’s increasingly difficult to measure which State’s carve-outs/treatments are better.

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