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Tax incentives don't work

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Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

In Timothy Puko's article “Cracker plant jobs claim may be way off” (June 16 and TribLIVE.com), he disputed the job estimates that Pennsylvania officials claim will result from a new Shell ethane cracker plant. Gov. Tom Corbett argues that these jobs justify an unlimited tax incentive for Shell to locate the plant in Beaver County. However, the benefits of these tax incentives targeted at specific businesses rarely outweigh their costs to taxpayers.

Economists define a created job as one that is filled by an unemployed individual, as opposed to someone who simply switches jobs. The problem with these claims of job creation is that politicians and industry leaders conflate the difference.

A new job does add value to the economy through new income, whereas someone accepting a different job only adds limited value if he or she receives greater income. As citizens, our interest dictates that tax dollars be used for real growth, not simply redistribution to companies.

The final job growth will doubtfully match the unlimited tax incentive, and Pennsylvanians will pay this bill. While adding real jobs is an important goal, tax incentives aren't the answer. Facts, not rhetoric, create jobs.

Amy Purpura

Wheeling, W.Va.

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