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December 02, 2004

Prosperity Parody

Last week, Rick Anderson had a great piece in the Seattle Weekly called Prosperity Parody. I think it's a must read for any left-leaning politico in Washington.

The story covers a recent summit between wealthy Washington corporate honchos and public hacks like Mayor Nickels who buddy up with them. Job creation is code for corporate tax breaks.

Drewel says the partnership's intent is to devise a strategy to create 100,000 new jobs by 2010, and, as leery Seattle City Council member Nick Licata told me, "How can anyone be against jobs?"... Locke had said the Boeing pact shows how the state is "open for business in a way we have never been before."...Public affairs consultant John A. Wilson saw the incentives as inevitable and says the entire state tax system needs revising—"Microsoft recently paid out $32 billion in dividends, and $18 billion of that went to Washington residents," he said. "The state treasury got no part of it." ...

Is this potential new public debt really necessary? Washington, home to three of America's 10 richest businessmen (Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer), ranks fourth nationwide for business-friendly environment, seventh in "wealth friendliness" (keeping wealth out of the reach of state government), and ninth in favorable business-tax rates, according to various studies. Locke says there was a net gain of 61,000 jobs last year, a stunning 10,000 last month, and that Washington has "virtually" regained every job it lost since 9/11. Even without the 100,000 jobs Prosperity Partnership hopes to create, Washington will add an estimated 290,000 more positions by 2010. Earnings growth is twice the national average, and based on gross state product, if Washington were a country, it would rank 21st, between Sweden and Austria. Is it possible we don't need no more stinkin' partnerships?

Bob Watt, Boeing Commercial Airplane's avuncular vice president for government and community relations, told the assemblage, "We have the opportunity of leaving this room [having] created something that doesn't exist." The only thing I could figure they overlooked was a taxpayer exemption from corporate welfare.

Posted by Jeff on December 2, 2004 at 12:23 AM in The Politics of Business | Permalink

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