Economic Subsidies for Economic Development: Not a Good Deal

Oregon Business Magazine quoted me in its article about two subsidies, one that clearly failed and one that, they say, worked.  If you think these things ever work, here are the facts cited in the article regarding the "good" subsidy.  Genentech received over $32 million of incentives, in exchange for which they agreed to hire 300 workers by 2015.  A great bioscience coup?  Hardly.  The facility will receive large barrels of pills and the workers will divide them into small bottle of pills, then prepare the small bottles for shipment.  High tech?  Cutting edge biochemistry?  Hardly.  This is slightly better than minimum wage work.  And we paid over $100,000 for each job "created."

I expounded on this topic at some length many years ago in a Cascade Policy Institute Report, "The Unseen Costs of Ribbon Cutting."