Who Benefits from Tax Breaks for Business?

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Advocates of tax breaks for business typically argue that such tax breaks will benefit workers as companies are more able to expand and invest. The latest study to call this into question comes from the University of Kentucky, which finds that tax breaks don't create as many jobs as previously hoped. The report concludes, "Based on our evidence showing that training incentives are positively related to economic activity in an area, and given that relatively little is spent on this program, the Legislature may want to consider increasing the amount spent on training incentives" rather than more tax breaks.

It's also doubtful that tax breaks are very important to the success of businesses themselves. Despite the fact that Kansas business owners named excessive taxation as their biggest concern for the fourth year in a row, nearly half of the businesses surveyed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce weren't even aware that the Legislature had enacted a six-year, $632 million business tax cut last year. The bill eliminated the state's property tax on new capital investment in business equipment and machinery and went into effect last July. It's difficult to believe that tax breaks could be vital to economic expansion if they're not even noticed by the corporations that benefit most from them.

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