Editorial: Replacing JOBZ would be sound gov’t

Published 10:10 am Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Greater Minnesota tax-incentive program Job Opportunity Building Zones — better known as JOBZ — was more successful in some communities than others. But it surely worked here in Freeborn County, bringing in companies and jobs. However, the state Legislature has been slow in finding a replacement.

The primary reason for the delay is metropolitan legislators see JOBZ as unfair to the area they represent.

However, they fail to understand a tenet of good government.

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That tenet goes like this: The government collects taxes. One way to collect more taxes is to grow the tax base — in other words, grow the economy. However, if the economy happens to grow only in the areas with natural advantages, the government then fails to make use of the territory available to it. Setting up a tax incentive in disadvantaged areas encourages growth that later results in tax revenue, thus reducing the burden of government on everyone.

Following the logic of the metropolitan legislators opposed to JOBZ, the only way for the government to collect more taxes is to raise taxes or to push the Twin Cities sprawl farther out.

If the state expects to climb its way out of its perennial budget deficit problem, it needs to give Greater Minnesota the tools it needs to bring jobs and industry. To be sure, helping Greater Minnesota alone won’t solve the state deficit woes, but every bit contributes toward the goal. There is no one-fell-swoop solution to state deficits.

Finding a replacement for JOBZ should be one key piece of an entire state budget makeover.

Finding a replacement for JOBZ should be a key issue in the political season, particularly in the gubernatorial race.

Moreover, finding a replacement for JOBZ should happen in 2011 because it would be sound government. What’s good for places like Roseau, Worthington and Albert Lea is good for the state.