Eye on Augusta: Legislature passes extension of business tax breaks

Still, critics have long argued that tax subsidies are a lousy strategy to create jobs and that the money could be better used to address other needs like infrastructure repair and funding schools. Testifying against the bill, Maine Center for Economic Policy analyst Sarah Austin argued that tax giveaways are rarely the deciding factor for businesses to relocate as companies are usually more interested in having a skilled workforce, good infrastructure and a demand for their products and services. She cited a 2016 Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Census and US Labor Department data which found that between 1995 and 2013, 87 percent of private-sector job creation came from businesses already located within a state and only 3 percent came from another state. Austin added that PTDZ also creates an uneven playing field between Main Street businesses that receive no tax breaks and larger businesses that get the benefits. And many large businesses are already receiving a massive windfall from the federal tax cuts passed by Congress.

“This tax plan cost $1.5 trillion and Congress intends to make massive cuts to federal programs to pay it,” said Austin. “To offer yet another tax break to businesses at a time when federal resources to Maine are likely to shift radically in the next couple years would be unnecessary and short-sighted.”

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