In context, liberal economic policies are still killing jobs

When considering what the dismal economic facts and realities of today mean for liberal economic policies and liberal thinking in general, one criticism I have encountered is a lack of consideration of the economic context in which those policies were enacted. Certainly, consideration of context is important for good public policy.

In this case, it turns out that if you take that context into account, it doesn’t change the basic conclusion: Liberal economic policies are depriving low- and middle-income families of job opportunities that the economy should otherwise be producing.

A recently published editorial on the website of Investor’s Business Daily provided economic context for the liberal federal economic policies of today by looking at how the current economic recovery compares with previous recoveries. In other words, setting aside the recession, which the policies of the current federal administration had nothing to do with, how does the economic recovery of the last three years – all of which have occurred under the current administration – compare with what we should expect, based on past recoveries? The answer: terrible. Read more

Big government, big business are 2 sides of the same coin

Conservatives are often accused of being the friend of Big Business because of their support of free markets. The irony of this argument, however, is that in reality it is Big Government – the child of most liberal policies – that is the best friend of big business.

The bigger government gets, the more it starts to intrude into peoples’ lives. When it comes to the economy, this means that it starts to put more burdensome, and often unnecessary, rules and regulations in place that make it hard to start, grow and run a business (e.g., excessive licensing fees and restrictions, unreasonable environmental regulations, health insurance mandates, special taxes on business, etc.).

As these intrusive policies multiply, what it creates is a scenario in which politically savvy businesses with enough money can navigate, and sometimes manipulate, the system to their advantage. Because small and medium-sized businesses by nature have fewer resources, they often cannot afford to play this political game, meaning that it is set up to favor big business with all of its lobbyists, political donations, and connections to people in power. As a result, this big government process almost always places the biggest burden on small business, giving big business the advantage.  Read more

Economic gardening arrives in Utah

Economic gardening – an entrepreneur-centered approach to economic development – has arrived in Utah and could lead to hundreds or thousands of new home-grown jobs.

The National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG), an affiliate of the Edward Lowe Foundation, has introduced an economic gardening pilot project in Utah in cooperation with the Carbon County economic development office.

Through this innovative program, NCEG will offer specialized assistance from its National Strategic Research Team (NSRT) to qualifying companies in Carbon and Emery counties. What kind of assistance will these companies receive?  Read more

S.L. has enough room for a convention, but not enough cabs? Hmm …

In a recent KSL article about the Outdoor Retailer show possibly relocating outside Salt Lake, the head of Visit Salt Lake said the following:

Salt Lake has enough hotel rooms and convention floor space, but Outdoor Retailer wants 900 taxicabs, which the city doesn’t have.

This quote is interesting on various levels. First, because both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have been considering helping build a convention center hotel specifically to attract or keep conventions just like this one. Several of the cities with convention hotels that would supposedly “steal” conventions because of Salt Lake’s lack of a convention hotel were also cited by the sponsors of the Outdoor Retailer show as having insufficient hotel space for the convention.  Read more

Pew: Utah is ‘trailing’ in evaluating tax incentives

Utah is fortunate that Governor Gary Herbert and the Legislature have made significant efforts to improve Utah’s economy and lessen government’s involvement in the free market. We hope they will continue these commendable efforts by closing a gap in Utah’s economic development policies.

The Pew Center on the States – the same organization that gave Utah its “best-managed state” ranking – released a report today saying that Utah is “trailing behind” in evaluating the effectiveness of its tax incentive programs.

This report comes just as two new tax incentive packages were announced in Utah. Two weeks ago, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) handed out an offer for another multi-million dollar tax break ($3,764,578) to Family Dollar Stores Inc., and just this morning it approved a cash rebate of up to $375,000 for an Indian company to produce a film in Utah of a “multi-faceted Bollywood love story.”

These new tax deals are just two of the more than 100 deals offered companies since 2006 – worth a total of nearly $600 million – with promises of tens of thousands of new jobs. The promise of more jobs in Utah is always encouraging, especially to those who are or have been seeking employment in this slowly recovering economy. But are these deals actually producing these promised jobs?  Read more

Public subsidy for a convention hotel in S.L.?

Salt Lake City is considering subsidizing a convention hotel in an attempt to lure more conventions to the city. According to Bob Farrington, the city’s economic development director, the subsidy is necessary because the market isn’t working efficiently or rationally. Rich Rosa of Utah Hospitality believes the proposal is not financially viable and could come back to bite taxpayers.

Watch this video report to learn more about the proposal and what Farrington and Rosa said about it:


What do you think? Should Salt Lake City subsidize a convention hotel?

Here’s the script for the video:  Read more

Going upscale in downtown S.L.

Five years ago backhoes started ripping two old, not-so-upscale malls and surrounding buildings in downtown Salt Lake City into rubble. Now, after an immense amount of construction, the new City Creek Center is open.

City Creek is remarkable not only because of its size, architecture and array of retail offerings, but it’s also being hailed as possibly “the largest privately funded development project in the United States,” even as the U.S. retail industry lingers in its state of stagnancy.

On that last point, City Creek is especially impressive, given that it’s privately funded while other developments and businesses seek government assistance through tax breaks, subsidies and other special favors. It’s good to be reminded that true private enterprise is possible.  Read more

Economic gardening could sprout with help from new task force

Governor Gary Herbert has signed HB 28, a bill that will form an Economic Development Task Force to find ways to improve Utah’s economy. Economic gardening is one topic that the new task force may address. Watch this video to learn more from the bill sponsor Representative Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville):.


Here’s the script of the video:  Read more

Video: Sandy favors Scheels with $16.8 million tax deal

In January, we wrote about a special 25-year tax deal that Sandy has offered to Scheels, a sporting goods store. Watch this video report to hear what representatives from Sandy, Sutherland Institute, and a local business competitor had to say about the deal:


What do you think about the deal Sandy has offered to Scheels?

Here’s the script of the video:  Read more

Video: Behind Costco’s Spanish Fork deal


Photo credit: Steve F

What if your next-door neighbor were able to pay zero sales taxes for 18 months ($2,000 for the average Utahn) and zero utility bills for four years – and you had to subsidize this arrangement?

As we reported two weeks ago, Spanish Fork has offered Costco a special deal like this, while its soon-to-be competitors will continue to pay full tax rates and utility bills. We interviewed Seth Perrins of Spanish Fork and Bret Gallacher of Associated Foods to understand better how this deal will affect the city and its current businesses.

You can hear what they said in the following video report:


Here’s the script of the video:  Read more