My state congressman asked me — in a survey — what I thought about tax credits. This is what I wrote (with some editing for typos):
…I’m skeptical of tax credits. I think they give arbitrary powers to government officials to pick winners and losers and lay claim to ‘saving the day’ in campaign speeches. Rather, I believe the best way for the state to encourage economic development is with minimal government intervention and low tax rates. Officials should seek to minimize tax rates for all. In the words of Harry Browne,
Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, “See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.”
Tax rates are ‘breaking your legs’ and tax credits are ‘handing you the crutch.’ I know that for elected officials it’s much harder to make the case that does more good than specific anecdotes of ‘bringing’ or ‘saving’ jobs, but that’s what good communications people are for.
A suggestion for the communications people, use Harry Browne’s quote.