Bringin it home:
Ocean Spray in Fogelsville –
“The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, with the help of a $4.5 million incentive package from the state, lured the juice maker away from its existing plant in Bordentown, New Jersey to Upper Macungie.” – Patch May 2012
Employment figures – 165 employees in the new modern facility vs. 250 at the old Bordentown NJ plant. Bordentown is 70 miles away across the Jersey border. Ok so the greater region and the American economy lost 90 jobs. But wait thats 165 new jobs for Valley residents. Eh not so fast…
“During the transition from the New Jersey to Upper Macungie, Ocean Spray will offer its Bordentown City employees relocation packages.”
So back to the fundamental question. Are we better off? Well PA taxpayers have subsidized another greenfield project. Not to mention the infrastructure to support it. The area gets more traffic, more tractor trailers and more future liability in terms of police, roads, water, sewer ect. The American economy as a whole loses 90 jobs.
So who are the winners? Ocean Spray wins. And I’m happy for that. Played the system. Pitted two communities against each other to see who can dangle the biggest fruit. They come out leaner and meaner as a company. Certainly a private companies right to do so. And yes, thats great. So who else? The politicians (Gov. Corbett and local officials) get a nice feather in their cap. And of course the Jaindl Land Company churns up another 44 acres of subsidized farmfield for a hefty profit. Again, it’s right working within the rules of the system.
My problem is the system. What we need right now. What needs to be a fundamental question on the national stage in this presidential election. How do we create new jobs. Not just encourage poaching? How do we make a sustainable dent in the unemployment rate thats been stagnant for a half decade. Not just prop up a broken system where jobs are poached from one community to another with temporary tax breaks and subsidies? Where are the vehicles to create new jobs? Whose talking about and addressing this problem?
That being said, I ask again: If locality ‘A’ steals a business from locality ‘B’ through tax breaks and subsidies is the American economy as a whole better off?
Sidenote: Remember International Battery? Another business lured by ured to Upper Macungie by $4 million in tax incentives. They closed in March. Failing to make a profit.