Messino brings up an interesting historical analogy. Bypassing the Empire and looking a bit closer to home. It is interesting to note the US policy towards economic development in Puerto Rico in the early 70s. In an attempt to promote business and industry, the US government offered companies lucrative tax breaks to entice them to set up operations in this wonderful, albeit third world, tropical paradise.

Some companies were able to operate for up to 17 years tax free and many companies, including NC based Blue Bell set up shop there to create jobs and promote industry. This was called “Operation Bootstrap” and is a classic study on US incentive policy. in the end, the incentives ended and so did the opeations that took advantage of them.

Puerto Rico is now more heavily populated and reliant on US dollars than then. Having lived and visited there many times, I would have to say that the “solution” offered only created a needier territory. Maybe that is what is happening here as well with the current Incentive State.