Friday, January 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Are government ‘carrots’ fair, worthwhile?

By
From page A9 | April 20, 2014 |

Across our state, government at all levels strives to appear attractive to businesses and organizations that will bring jobs and economic prosperity to their jurisdictions. They cobble together creative, yet confusing, programs and policies to entice commerce to their communities.

The current round of incentivization apparently stems from the loss of redevelopment districts, and “creative” ideas were needed to keep the economic engine going. Unfortunately, subjective criteria can set the foundation for cronyism.

Several communities in our county have implemented sales tax rebate programs as an incentive program for select (e.g. “large”) businesses. Many programs are heavy on “if-then” clauses: If you meet this requirement, then you might qualify for that benefit.

What if I am an established business that followed the existing laws and fee schedules, then a new business is granted a rebate or exemption? The system that I have contributed to, and complied with, has put me at a disadvantage. My competitor may have gotten an advantage over my business; an advantage that was determined by the current political climate.

As an individual consumer, how do you feel about rebates? Having to get paperwork together, fill out applications and waiting for months to get the money back (maybe), then wondering who to contact when you’re curious about the status is aggravating. Compound that aggravation for a business owner who is unsure if they will get that rebate; one who may need that money for payroll or to purchase inventory.

If carrots are now being dangled to new or relocating businesses, existing businesses will be motivated to look elsewhere to grab their own carrots. If I am an aspiring business that wants to expand, it is potentially in my interest to wait and see what carrots assorted governments will throw at me. Additionally, if the carrots are getting bigger as time passes, I may hold off on my growth plans until the carrot is so juicy I would be crazy not to jump on it.

If an agency is collecting a tax, theoretically, it is to raise resources to provide benefit to the taxpayers of the community. For the agency to rebate some of it back to select entities casts doubt on the necessity of the tax in the first place. Moreover, this precedent validates that keeping money with the private sector is an incentive to starting and growing businesses. If so, why don’t we apply this logic universally, rather than maintaining a selective and subjective list that applies to a handful of well-connected organizations?

When a list of criteria is established that limits the number of participants in a program, there is motivation to update or alter the criteria to allow or prohibit certain participants from realizing benefits of that program. For most municipalities, these programs require city council approval. Knowing that it takes just three people to determine whether one qualifies for preferential treatment stokes the fires of politicking, lobbying and influence peddling.

I view government as a service provider. As with all service providers I deal with, I want the relationship to be smooth and uncomplicated. Likewise, the service provider should strive to be my easiest and most enjoyable partner. Businesses are focused on making a product or providing a service. A business owner should be utilizing their resources and bandwidth to improve their product or service, not expending additional resources to understand and comply with all the details of convoluted programs.

If we are after “creative” solutions to economic growth, let us try this one: Remove as many fees, permits, charges, taxes and other hurdles as possible that are not value-added. Any city fees and regulations are piled on top of many county and state fees and regulations. Allow the people to focus as much of their resources and energy on efficiently providing goods and services to the community.

Businesses (and people) fear one thing above all: uncertainty. Our government should strive to maintain a consistent and reliable playing field for all participants. To do otherwise frustrates the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our economy.

Brian Thiemer is chairman of the Solano County Libertarian Party. He can be reached at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterApril 20, 2014 - 9:09 am

    If government has the power to wield a carrot, then government has too much power.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensApril 20, 2014 - 6:02 pm

    The carrot that they dangle is a poisoned ''bait and switch'' carrot indeed. California isn't the only one---New York is up to the same fraud and misrepresentation too.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fraud among challenges immigrants face, Fairfield panelists say

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Girls on the Run expands, seeks volunteers

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Sports aircraft company CEO recalls effort to locate in Solano

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4 | Gallery

SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Poll shows giant gap between what public, scientists think

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Ukraine: Russia-backed rebels overrun another town in east

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
California meets judges’ prison crowding goal 1 year early

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

.

Entertainment

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

 
Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

.

Obituaries

Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9