State and local governments are in constant competition for new businesses so that their residents might realize employment and collateral business opportunities. The unfortunate result of this interstate competition is that businesses are sometimes “poached” from their existing locations to new locales through promises of reduced tax burdens and state-financed infrastructure.
In addition, some large employers actively pit cities and states against each other by threatening to “up-stakes” and move from their existing locations unless their host state and local governments provide massive tax breaks and other concessions. This approach has been successful time, and time, and time again. Local political leaders, fearful of the loss of jobs, purchasing power, real estate values, and tax revenues often have no choice but to cave to the demands of these big businesses. Obtaining tax concessions by threat of relocation smacks of extortion. The federal government, paralyzed for decades by partisan bickering, has provided no push-back to the power of business in this regard.
State legislators from across the country must begin communicating and cooperating on how to level the playing field between big business and frequently out-matched state and local elected officials. As a Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, Joe pledges to reach-out to legislators from other states and to work with National Conference of State Legislatures to draft model state legislation that could provide mutual protection against threats by large businesses.