According the Sutherland Institute, since 2006 Utah has provided more than 100 tax incentive offers, totaling close to six million dollars, to out-of-state businesses in order to incentivize their relocation. However, according to a study by the Pew Center for the States, several states including Utah are not even doing adequate follow up to see if they are actually receiving the economic benefits these tax credits were meant to provide. Other states have been auditing these tax breaks and are finding that the projected numbers don't measure up against reality. We may wish to ask ourselves, how many jobs could have been created by a similar investment in 100 local businesses over the same five years?
Our posts here last week referred to national studies by Civic Economics regarding the economic impact of local business versus big box and chain retailers. Their findings help illuminate the picture regarding our tax policies and their consequences. It is time to start using our tax dollars and our local labor force wisely. Until we become better at auditing our tax benefits at the state level, lets consider the information we do have. The SLC 2012 Economic Study clearly highlights the benefits of investing in local entrepreneurs and business owners. Locally owned retailers are reinvesting their revenue in our own economy at almost four times the rate of national chains. As consumers it is hard to think that we can make a difference when it comes to these policy decisions; arguably, all we need to do is vote with our wallet. These studies highlight yet another reason to support your local business owner.