“A recent Bloomberg report unveiled how Apple and other retailers have dozens of long-standing agreements with California cities that divert sales tax revenue back to the companies,” The Bloomberg Editorial Board writes. “The cities made these deals, officials say, to lure the firms or make sure they stayed put.”
“The question is whether [these tax deals] work as they should — that is, case by case, are they well-designed to make those cities better off?” The Bloomberg Editorial Board writes. “Right now, taxpayers often have little way to judge. Details of these tax-rebate agreements are typically hard to find, and much of what’s available omits basic details.”
“States can help with audit resources — Texas has instituted an audit program for property-tax breaks — and with enforcement. They can also encourage cities to cooperate with each other in attracting investment, thereby keeping tax-and-subsidy competition within bounds,” The Bloomberg Editorial Board writes. “But as long as cities choose to compete, officials would do well to give voters an account of why the deals they’re cutting work for ordinary taxpayers.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Full transparency seems logical, even though it would likely provide information that less honest people would cherry pick to use to support their point of view and attack the other.
One issue might be the utter complexity of calculating exactly what having Apple in Cupertino delivers to the cities in terms of taxes and sales (Apple employees buy houses, furniture, meals, food, gas, etc. and pay sales tax, school tax, gas tax, income tax, etc.); it’s impossible to quantify and therefore state accurately.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]