Monday, June 3, 2013

Ohio Incentives Program on Policy Watch

Every once in a while, the so-called war on suburbs emerges more front and center than normal.  Today's, Columbus Dispatch is one such example within the article "Tax Breaks for Enterprise Zones Endures Despite Criticism."

The article reports that Policy Matters Ohio testified against extension of Ohio's long-standing Enterprise Zone program on the basis that it should be helping urban areas instead of aiding suburban ones.  The advocacy seems focused on removing the program from suburban areas where sites and workforce exist to support industry.

That's addition by subtraction in my book.

Frankly, with stats consistently showing that 90%+ of manufacturing-related projects in Ohio are happening in Ohio's smaller cities and counties, any attempt to hurt suburbs as a way to help denser areas is misguided, at best.  It would truly be a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Ohio's Enterprise Zone program is a site development tool geared toward industrial and manufacturing development.  It gives local governments the ability to provide a reason for a manufacturer to choose a site in Ohio versus one in another state.  Why should it matter where in Ohio a manufacturer chooses?  Ohio, as a state, has won investment and jobs with this program that forgoes local tax dollars.

Said another way, the program has worked for the benefit of all of Ohio's tax base and efforts to try to bring help to distressed, dense areas should not be considered if the first thing they are designed to do is hurt suburban areas as a way to do it.

The Enterprise Zone program needs to continue as a local tax incentive tool.

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