Haslam Eyes ‘Measurable Metric’ to Justify Subsidies to Job-Generating Companies

Gov. Bill Haslam says a big issue facing state policymakers is finding a balance between recruiting new jobs and the burgeoning cost to taxpayers of the incentives that subsidize them. From a story on a gubernatorial interview with Richard Locker:
“It’s a buyer’s market when it comes to site location now. I was surprised at how many interested parties we had in the pipeline. But I was also surprised at their expectation levels” from the state, he said.
As a result, Haslam said his administration is drafting “a measurable metric that says, ‘They’re going to bring “X” jobs at “X” salary and is that something we can justify?’ Our challenge is to keep going out there competing and bringing jobs here and yet doing it at a price that makes sense for our taxpayers. That’s tough.”
Before it adjourned last month, the legislature approved nearly $300 million in direct taxpayer subsidies of industrial plants and equipment for three large manufacturers locating in Tennessee, including about $100 million for Electrolux in Memphis. Two of the three were commitments made by former governor Phil Bredesen and represented a shift beyond the state’s traditional recruiting tools: funding for job training, infrastructure for factories and tax breaks.
State officials also agreed to a secret deal with Amazon.com to forego sales taxes on Amazon sales inside the state in return for two new distribution centers near Chattanooga.
Haslam said he’s heavily scheduled for job recruiting trips in and out of state (and the story says that will occupy much of his time for the remainder of the year, along “fine-tuning the big education changes lawmakers approved and digging deeper into the operations of state government agency by agency.”

One thought on “Haslam Eyes ‘Measurable Metric’ to Justify Subsidies to Job-Generating Companies

Leave a Reply