North Carolina and American Express Provide a Good Example
According to an editorial in the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., American Express chose that state’s Guilford County as the location for its new $600 million data center. This is a big deal for the following reason:
The financial services giant […] never asked for millions of dollars in incentives that the Greensboro City Council and Guilford County Board of Commissioners were prepared to consider.
This is advantageous for taxpayers in North Carolina and in Guilford County. Not only will they experience job growth and productive economic activity, they don’t have to subsidize those jobs.
Furthermore, their tax money can be diverted to programs that have a higher priority, such as education or infrastructure, or returned to them to save or to spend in the private sector.
Additionally, because AmEx remains in the tax base, the state and local government in North Carolina can assess a tax rate that’s lower and more equal for all taxpayers. Unlike the new IBM service center in Columbia, Mo., AmEx will contribute property tax revenues, which will benefit public schools in the area.
The News & Record editorial also says:
[American Express] operates on an ethic of giving to the community, not taking from it, and now it has enhanced that reputation many times over.
I applaud the restraint that American Express has shown, and I hope that other corporations follow this example in their own expansion efforts. According to the editorial, a computer distribution center has also opened in the area without government incentives.
North Carolina is fortunate because profitable, confident businesses like American Express are moving to the state on their own volition, and without the financial assistance of the government. (If only Missouri were so lucky!)
Hat tip to John Payne.