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.