February 27, 2007

Some Good Reasons for Governments NOT to invest Taxpayer Money in Schemes

Richard Aboulafia:
Finding Two. If a state plays this game it quickly reaches an absurd level. Just after the LoPresti micro-triumph New Mexico announced a $100 million investment to build…a spaceport (I really wish I was making this up). This will service Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and is obviously a necessary subsidy, because Branson, for some reason, has no cash. (See the December 2005 press release at http://ww1.edd.state.nm.us. Title: Richardson Announces $100 Million Commitment to Build World’s First Spaceport. Implicit subtitles: “Private Sector Baulks At Risky Project; We’re enlisting New Mexico Taxpayers To Provide Generous Help” and “Hooray! We’re Morons!”). Today, Kansas and Florida. Tomorrow, Low Earth Orbit. Who can stop New Mexico from operating like an aerospace banana republic? In search of good government I asked my friend Jeff Schwartz what could be done. Jeff is one of the smartest government guys I know, and he works for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which funds development work in states in their jurisdiction. “We’re on it,” he reassured me, referring me to their code (http://www.arc.gov/index.do?nodeId=1242#chap8). The ARC prohibits its money from going to “(A) Any form of assistance to relocating industries; (B) recruitment activities that place a state in competition with another state or states; and (C) projects that promote unfair competition between businesses within the same immediate service area.”
Brenda Konkel recently wondered about the City of Madison's $700K loan to Tomo Therapy. Generally, I think governments should stay out of this. We're all better off if they spend time simplifying processes, taxes and paperwork. Posted by James Zellmer at February 27, 2007 4:54 PM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Business | Politics | Taxes