Republicans love the free market so much, I often say, they want to subsidize it. The latest move by Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia is another case in point. Norman Leahy reports on our Examiner Opinion Zone blog:
From the Governor’s press release:
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Henrico County and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Eric Cantor also assisted with the project. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance (VDBA) will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment and training activities.
Dollar figures weren’t attached to any of this, which is a shame, as a recent deal touted to bring 500 jobs to Henry County soaked up at least $2.6 million in state-controlled and taxpayer funds.
But we can be sure the state will expend whatever scarce dollars, and commit whatever precious resources are needed to ensure that one of the nation’s largest corporate welfare recipients gets its share of Virginia-flavored support, too.
Cantor is pretty conservative, but remember he was also a champion of the TARP bailout. In other words, he often seems more pro-business than pro-market. McDonnell, as I've written before, occasionally falls into the same trap.
Of course, if McDonnell, Cantor, and Warner do succeed in paying GE to bring 200 jobs to Virginia, it will be a partial offset to the GE jobs that big government killed in Virginia. I'm speaking of the light-bulb factory in Winchester closed down thanks to the light-bulb efficiency laws -- that GE lobbied for.
So what's the net result of states giving special favors to big employers? It's a net benefit for big business that can promise things like 200 jobs, and a net drain for small business that suffers under higher tax rates and higher regulatory burdens.