A case against giving tax breaks

2013-04-01T01:30:00Z A case against giving tax breaksBy JOEL MELARVIE Mandan Bismarck Tribune
April 01, 2013 1:30 am  • 

This letter is written out of respect and gratitude for the work being done by Mandan’s governing officials and employees. It is in this spirit that I offer the following about the granting of tax breaks to businesses either seeking to locate in Mandan or those that have already made the decision to locate in the city.

Every tax break granted a business means a future tax increase for the taxpayers, because someone will have to make up the cost difference to help pay for the city operations. The other taxpayers — those who did not receive a tax break — are that “someone.”

Does this mean tax breaks should never be granted? No. However, consideration should be given to the classification of businesses to which tax breaks are provided. Tax breaks given to primary sector businesses are preferred.

The one factor all primary- sector businesses have in common is known as “new wealth,” the income generated by the businesses that results from the sale of their products or services in a regional, national or international marketplace. Examples of primary sector businesses in Mandan are Cloverdale, L & H Manufacturing and Branding Irons, the refinery, and NISC to name a few.

Although Wal-Mart and apartment complex developers may provide needed products and services, they and other non primary sector businesses should not receive tax breaks because they do not make significant contributions to “new wealth.”

I believe tax breaks should be given only to primary sector businesses that can justify the need. It is unfair to burden taxpayers in Mandan with a future tax liability that will eventually be necessary to offset the loss of tax income resulting from the tax breaks.

The city’s continued growth should be accomplished on its own merits and not on the granting of unjustified tax breaks to retail sector businesses.

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