#PAGov: Tom Wolf Doesn’t Want to Play the Ripoff Game

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I mentioned this as an aside in my write-up of the WHYY/Philadelphia Business Journal candidate forum, but Tom Wolf was the candidate most skeptical of the Ripoff Game – that stupid zero-sum job poaching game states play, which basically creates zero total new jobs.

I don’t recall him making any concrete promises, but while everybody else’s attitude was basically “yes this sucks, no we can’t stop doing it,” Wolf returned to his criticism of the strategy again and again when economic questions came up.

That’s really important because a lot of these companies just aren’t actually profitable enterprises without the public handouts:

State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 billion and Ford Motor at $2.5 billion, the new report by the nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First shows [...]

The data on welfare paid to companies come from Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker 2.0, an improved Web tool that examines subsidies by linking subsidiaries to parent companies. The older version of the tool obscured the benefits to brand name corporate parents such as Apple, Google, Toyota and Walt Disney.

The size and range of the subsidies the tool has uncovered helps explain the burdens taxpayers must bear because so many major corporations rely on welfare for much or all of their profits rather than earning them.

Such burdens are especially hard on the poor. The bottom fifth of households in all but one state pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than the top 1 percent of earners. This means that corporate welfare effectively redistributes from the poor to those rich enough to own corporate stock.

 This is the PA Republicans’ idea of how jobs get made. Not just an industrial policy, but a failed industrial policy. Boeing is never not going to need our subsidies.

Tom Wolf’s Fresh Start plan has a different idea that’s not based on blowing a bunch of money on propping up zombie firms. He wants to invest in Ben Franklin Tech Partners and other regional incubators that have a proven track record of creating new Pennsylvania businesses, and commercializing the good ideas coming out of our many universities into working business models.

This is a slower process than the Ripoff Game, but it actually creates new value, and it’s actually sustainable in the long run. This would be the benefit of having a self-funder Governor. Unlike Tom Corbett, he wouldn’t try to bet the horse on stupid get-rich-quick schemes conveniently timed to the election calendar.

(via David Cay Johnston)

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

One Response to #PAGov: Tom Wolf Doesn’t Want to Play the Ripoff Game

  1. tgb says:

    Try getting an accounting of KOZ zones. Who gets how much benefit on what taxes and what do we get for it in long run. In particular look at the Robert Mericle mess in NEPA where he gave two judges over 2 million in finders fees to shut down the Luzerne County prison and have him build another on KOZ land in Pittston Pa for prisoned atty Powell and a western pa person. Even Meuser the Rev Secty I believe has gotten KOZ money and I bet he can not give you specifics on how much has been given away to whom. Some may be not even Pa Citzens whoget the benefit. Lets see if Wolf takes this on or does like Corbett and do nothing but more deals. Corbett is good at cutting ribbons for some of these admitted criminals.