Jim Tynen: Not much in it for us

May 24, 2013 

Not much in it for us

MetLife will be moving employees from Northeast locations to two North Carolina campuses, one in Cary. Wake County OK’d $1.9 million in special incentives; Cary chipped in the same. The state offered incentives worth $94 million.

My taxes help pay for those goodies. What am I getting in return?

In one sense – nothing. Companies should be glad to get out of the high-tax, high-cost Northeast and come to North Carolina, even though the business climate isn’t optimal here either.

It’s not like MetLife is impoverished. For 2012, it reported a handsome profit of $1.2 billion.

Nor is it fair that Fred’s coffee shop or Amy’s new software company has to carry the full costs of doing business in Cary, while a multi-billion-dollar corporation gets special breaks. Cary’s and North Carolina’s tax burden will be shouldered by those businesses not enjoying the political privileges granted to MetLife. How many jobs will be eliminated or never created because that burden becomes too heavy?

Observers must read past the headlines announcing “new jobs” courtesy of the MetLife deal. Such corporate welfare schemes come not only with the easily seen headline benefits, but also with significant yet harder-to-detect costs. They include not only the jobs and business ventures foregone due to the uneven playing field created by government picking winners and losers, but also the loss of freedom as more of our economy becomes further politicized.

Jim Tynen

Cary

Tynen is communications director for the Civitas Institute in Raleigh.

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