Sunday, September 29, 2013

Warren Buffett tweets a photo of himself as Walter White, but no meth dealer ever took $802,000,000
from the tax base of a town of 40,000

Warren Buffett just tweeted a picture of himself in Walter White drag, but not even the most ruthless of meth dealers ever accomplished what his Berkshire Hathaway (HRC score: zero) unit, Nebraska Furniture Mart, did earlier this year when it wrangled economic incentives approaching a billion dollars from a small city near Dallas, The Colony, in exchange for building one new store.
     According to Matthew Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, $802 million in economic incentives is 15 times the city's annual budget; roads, utility upgrades and a parking garage by themselves will run $291 million.
     NFM also will get up to $261 million to offset some of the store's building expenses. This despite the fact that retail jobs are some of the worst paying. Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, wonders why a city should subsidize retail and "give away your tax base for years," since "retail will take care of itself."
     Which means that stores always follow growing populations, with or without incentives.
     NFM has promised to employ about 2,000 people, but only 850 will be full-time jobs.
     Robert Bland, chairman of the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas, wondered about incentives punishing previously existing businesses which have paid their full share of taxes and will now be gaining a major competitor.

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