Thanks to Arkansas Business for alerting me to yet another report that says corporate welfare — handing out state and local tax money to private businesses in the name of economic development — is a waste of money.

DO NOT pass this National Bureau of Economic Research publication along to Little Rock and Arkansas politicians or chamber of commerce lobbying groups (which are themselves subsidized by Arkansas taxpayers). Their belief in welfare for the wealthy but not for the working poor is an article of faith (not to mention a source of lagniappe for the connected and related — think the governor’s son profiting from recipients of the governor’s largesse with tax money). Here in Arkansas, we tax work, not wealth. It has always been so. Look around at the results. Do you doubt the wisdom?


In any case, from the Axios summary:

  • new paper from researchers at Princeton and Columbia found “no evidence” that state-and-local tax incentives to individual companies increased economic growth.

The study found that a quarter of all business tax incentives go to a very small group — less than .01% of firms that opened new locations in 2014.

  • It estimates that state and local governments spend at least $30 billion a year on business tax incentives.

Imagine what $30 billion could do for education or health care.