Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Alabama looks to revamp economic development incentives as state faces increasing competition for new jobs, investment

By Dawn Kent Azok

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – There's an effort underway to retool Alabama's economic development incentives structure, and it comes as the state faces more competition than ever for new jobs and investment.

For years, the South has led the U.S. in enticing companies with tax breaks, cash and perks. But other states are upping their game. For example, in New York, one much-publicized incentive is a tax-free zone that exempts startups and expanding businesses from property, sales and other taxes for 10 years.

"It used to be that Southern states had the reputation of being the most aggressive on incentives, but that's changing," said Dennis Cuneo, a former Toyota executive who serves as a site selection consultant for companies scouting new U.S. locations.

The practice of paying companies to put down roots is also the subject of debate and division: Is all that gift-giving necessary to land jobs and foster prosperity? Or is it corporate welfare that merely drains public budgets?  More here.

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