02.19.2010 Policy Points

Repackaging Economic Development

The Washington Post reports on how some state governors are repackaging existing business incentives and tax cuts as “jobs” programs.

Economists and some proponents of governors’ plans say those pushed by [Maryland Gov. Martin] O’Malley, [Virginia Gov. Robert] McDonnell and others are likely to produce fewer jobs than advertised and exaggerate what states can do to spur job growth. None, for example, appears able to significantly lower their states’ unemployment rates this year. And with so many states trying similar strategies to grab a finite number of jobs, one governor’s win is bound to be another’s loss.

“I’ll be honest with you, these things cost money. And given the fiscal situations they are in, there’s not a lot they can do in terms of job creation,” said Raymond C. Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association. He added that he has been surprised by governors’ boisterous assertions.

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