Alabama Could Learn Some Lessons From Michigan Study

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An extensive study of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority's (MEGA) business tax incentives that were distributed between 1996 and 2004 found that incentive programs frequently don't result in the job creation they promise. As the study explains, "since 1996, MEGA has put together 230 incentive agreements. Under these agreements, 127 projects should have produced 35,821 direct jobs by 2005. In fact, these deals have produced about 13,541 jobs, or 38 percent of original expectations. This represents roughly 0.3 percent of Michigan's total work force."

Perhaps Alabama lawmakers hadn't read the MEGA study because they are currently rejoicing in having won a new ThyssenKrup manufacturing facility. What will Alabama get in return? In the short-term, Alabama taxpayers have doled out $461 million in direct financial aid, including land acquisition, site preparation, worker training, and road improvements and an additional $350 million in "abatements of sales, property and utility taxes by state and local governments." But if results like those found in the MEGA study are replicated in Alabama, lawmakers and taxpayers may wish that they hadn't been so generous. For more on this topic, visit Good Jobs First.

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