“Politicians like to claim victories when they can,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington. “If you’re a governor and you can’t get a tax bill through, or you’re unable to expand K-12 education, you can always find support for economic development spending….”
But states don’t give up on the idea of wooing footloose companies.
“If North Carolina is paying to take jobs from Virginia and Virginia offers money to take jobs from North Carolina, it seems like Virginia and North Carolina both end up with less. The only ones who win in a bidding war are companies’ stockholders,” said Farnsworth, at Mary Washington.
“Maybe the cost to the state is greater than the value of the jobs,” he added. “We really need more effective and transparent evaluations for economic development spending.”