Cronyism: A Tennessee Love Story

August 2, 2013 3:06PM

Beacon CEO Justin Owen pens a guest article at the new blog, Tennessee Brush Fires, about the pitfalls of corporate welfare. Here’s an excerpt.

Since 2005, Tennessee governments have handed over $1.75 billion in the form of tax credits and cash grants to large companies. And the vast majority of it has gone to just seven large corporations. Talk about a lopsided playing field. The worst part of this corporate welfare scheme—taking from some and giving to others—is what could be done instead. Take for example the case of Hemlock Semiconductor, which received massive subsidies to locate a plant in Clarksville as part of the solar panel supply chain. Just a few months ago, the company announced that it was laying off its Tennessee workforce and ending construction on the unopened plant. Despite the company’s utter failure to live up to its promises, taxpayers will lose $90 million on the deal. The $90 million lost on Hemlock could have gone to cut the business tax for all Tennessee businesses by almost one-half percent. That’s a tax cut for 170,000 different businesses, from the largest corporation to the mom and pop shop down the road.

Head over to Tennessee Brush Fires for the full piece.