Even Disney Magic Is Swayed by Tax Incentives
Missouri’s own Walt Disney and his Walt Disney Company may create theme parks that are the most magical places on Earth, but at its core, Disney is a for-profit company. Like other companies, it can be swayed by lawmakers offering tax incentives or tax breaks. Recently, Disney announced to around 2,000 workers that their jobs would be moving from California to Florida. The reason? The company gets tax breaks for moving these jobs to Florida that could save it about half a billion dollars.
Apparently, getting Disney to move a small chunk of its workforce to Lake Nona (a mixed-use development about 20 miles from Walt Disney World) is worth $570 million over 20 years—that’s what Disney is estimated to receive for this move. That’s a lot of money to pass up, so I can’t blame Disney for making the move. However, lawmakers are taking this money away from taxpayers, and they certainly deserve blame for that.
Clearly, Missouri is not the only state that seems to be addicted to handing out money to “help” large companies make decisions. Lawmakers across the country can’t wrap their heads around this important point: Giving away hard-earned tax dollars (or not collecting tax dollars) to manipulate the market and pick winners and losers is a bad idea. The research shows that the broader economy of an area does not benefit from these types of incentives—but the company certainly will.
Missouri and Missouri cities give out and forgo hundreds of millions of tax dollars annually. We’re not the only ones to do this, but we should be the ones to end it. Perhaps we will soon know the “magic” of actually using taxpayer dollars to provide public services to taxpayers.