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Corporations lead taxpayers to the shearing

By Michael Hiltzik.

Boeing is likely to be this year’s trendsetter in corporate extortion. It’s seeking big incentives from states for its 777X airliner production.

Here’s a business practice likely to keep booming in 2014: corporate extortion.
We don’t mean extortion of corporations, as is practiced by Somali pirates or entrepreneurial Russians. We mean extortion by corporations.

In this field the victims are taxpayers, and what makes it a beautiful business is that the taxpayers think they’re getting a great deal, even as they’re led to the shearing. And a lucrative shearing it is, for business: By the estimate of the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, state and local tax incentives funnel $50 billion in tax revenue into corporate coffers every year. On a national basis, ITEP says, this is worse than a zero-sum game: The incentives are “much more likely to reshuffle investment between geographic areas than … to spur genuinely new economic activity.”

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