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ICYMI: Corporate welfare, state bailouts won’t fix economy

Jan 4, 2021 by AFP

Americans for Prosperity-Florida State Director Skylar Zander | Orlando Sentinel

Filmmakers, professional sports teams, and countless others are trying to make the case that taxpayer funding for their industry is the cure for Florida’s post-COVID economy. Just give us the money, they argue, and we’ll make the economy bounce back.

Not only are businesses asking for more of your tax dollars, but some states are advocating bailouts to fill budget holes caused by years of reckless spending. In making their case, however, they fail to answer two crucial questions.

First, why should the government pick winners and losers among industries?

Second, why should hardworking Florida taxpayers hand over their money to well-heeled companies and states whose finances were a mess well before COVID-19?

Put another way, why should we rob Peter Taxpayer to pay Paul Billionaire at a time when state revenue is down and we’re already cutting back on services?

The answer is, we shouldn’t.

Neither the short term nor the long term would be well-served by concentrating benefits on a handful of industries and having everyone else pick up the tab.

Those seeking incentives should try explaining to the Floridians who are hurting and the small-business owners who have lost their life’s work why they have to bear the added expense of subsidizing private-sector businesses.

For the billions wasted on corporate welfare, states could instead provide a major tax cut for every worker and small business owner.

Sustainable economic growth comes from sound tax and budget policy, not from handouts to glamorous industries or bailouts to profligate states that provide no lasting benefit to the millions of Floridians on the outside looking in.

Now more than ever, as we begin recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers should focus on removing barriers, cutting red tape, and easing occupational licensing requirements that make it harder to find work. They should not waste precious tax dollars picking and choosing which well-connected companies to subsidize.

Click here to read the entire op-ed.