Monday, July 22, 2013

Tax breaks for rich companies bring few jobs

The daily newspaper had a rather unremarkable story the other day titled "Data centers remake Crook County."

There was no news in the article, just a regurgitation of information reported many times before.

Facebook, and then Apple, extracted huge long-term tax exemptions from the state and Crook County for the building of gigantic data centers near Prineville.

Facebook employs a couple of dozen employees, most of whom were hired from out of the area. No word on how many of these employees are janitors.

Apple, after getting such a gift from Oregonians, said it wouldn't hire anyone at the data center but rather do all the work via remote technicians, no doubt in India or China.

Apple now claims they will hire about 35 people at the first of its two 338,000-square-foot data centers. Again, these could be janitors or other part-time workers.

And, what about Crook County? How has it benefited from all these "wonderful" new data centers?

Well, so much money has been generated by the data centers that the county can now bring a part-time building inspector up to full-time, according to the story.

Yep, that's it.

For giving away the farm, Crook County got one-half of one job.

It's no wonder that the richest companies in the world can extract massive concessions from such rubes. Supposedly, Crook County officials are ready to bend over for another tech company's data center.

But, the other property taxpayers in the county have to pay more so that Apple, Facebook and the unnamed tech company can pay less.

To say this whole system is ass-backwards is merely stating the obvious.

What it really means is that the problem with this country is that the rich evade paying taxes at the expense of our budget deficit, education, health care, infrastructure, etc.

It would help if the handful of journalist left in this country would read some books by award-winning journalist David Cay Johnston.

His latest, "The Fine Print," plus his previous work, "Free Lunch," show definitely that giving tax breaks to the wealthiest companies in the world does little, if anything long-term, for the local economy.

But, hey, one-half of one job in Crook County is better than no job at all.

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