by Max Brantley
Arkansas business leaders would L-O-V-E love New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He's lavished hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare — handouts of tax money and tax breaks — to private companies for putative economic development, often merely moves from one location in New Jersey to another.
The generous distribution of subsidies in New Jersey has come under fire from government-reform groups, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City and some New Jersey landlords, who contend that the programs are an expensive and ineffective form of assistance to wealthy corporations.
The critics pointed out that even when the promised jobs have not materialized, the Christie administration has merely reduced, not withdrawn, the subsidies. And they say that the administration is mortgaging the state’s future by forgiving so much tax revenue for the next 10 to 15 years.
“Christie has taken this to a whole different level; it’s become a feeding trough,” said Deborah Howlett, executive director of New Jersey Policy Perspectives, a liberal policy organization. “It seems ridiculous to steal jobs from one city in the state and move them to another city a couple miles away. There just doesn’t seem to be any benefit to taxpayers.”
I can't help but think of a corporate welfare handout in Arkansas to a member of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Mike Akin, to take over a furniture plant in an Arkansas city in which he was already operating (and promptly cut workers' pay). Akin went on to preside as a UA trustee over a UA-Monticello business deal with one of his concerns. He's a Republican, running for Senate on the standard platform of running government like a business. Which is exactly what taxpayers should be afraid of.