Replace JOBZ

Published 10:33 am Friday, January 25, 2013

The Greater Minnesota tax-incentive program Job Opportunity Building Zones — better known as JOBZ — had varying success in communities throughout the state. It surely worked in Freeborn County, bringing in companies and jobs. Yet state leaders have been slow in finding a replacement.

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.

The state needs to give Greater Minnesota the tools it needs to bring jobs and industry. Finding a replacement for JOBZ should happen in 2013 because it would be sound government. What’s good for places like Roseau, Worthington and Albert Lea is good for the state coffers.