by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
It’s not directly from the legislature, but the Golden Leaf Foundation is planning on more economic incentives. This time, it’s $50 million to attract a car manufacturer. $50 million that could otherwise go to schools. Or maybe it could be applied to some of those transportation projects that the governor wants to issue bonds to cover. Or it could help reduce taxes. There are lots of options.
What it shouldn’t be doing is targeting particular favored industries in this way. Yes, this is a foundation, rather than the legislature, but it’s still taxpayer money being directed to particular industries and companies. The fact that it’s administered by a foundation board doesn’t change the fundamental problem.
Rather than giving these sorts of grants, the Golden Leaf Foundation should redirect funds to the General Fund, and the legislature should use the money to build infrastructure that will benefit all businesses. Or to lower taxes that will benefit all businesses. Or to invest in education that makes the state a more attractive place for all people to live and work.
The state should remain neutral, not favoring some businesses over other. That’s true whether the favorites are being chosen by the General Assembly or a foundation board.