One of the major tools governments are now employing to recruit new jobs, companies and industries is “cash incentives.” This was a major part of Wisconsin’s successful $3 billion recruitment effort of technology giant Foxconn Technology Group that won over other more lucrative recruiting efforts such as Michigan’s 27% higher $3.8 billion. However, Michigan’s recruiters relied heavily upon the traditional method of tax credits to reduce Foxconn’s tax bills, which have fallen out of favor lately.
This will probably also be a major component of the winning effort to recruit Amazon’s second headquarters and an expected 50,000 new jobs. However, is this the most efficient way to create more high paying jobs?
Is Employing The “Cash Plan” The Best Job And Wage Creator?
In an official letter to Amazon executives attached to the state and city’s bid, Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the legislature’s top four leaders laid out the big-ticket series of state tax breaks, property tax discounts, infrastructure spending and other incentives. In the letter, the politicians also offered to spend an additional $250 million that would not go to Amazon directly but would pay to train up a workforce from which the mega tech company could hire.
The package includes $1.32 billion in EDGE tax credits and $172.5 million in sales tax and utility tax exemptions from the state; $61.4 million in property tax discounts from Cook County and Chicago; and $450 million in to-be-determined infrastructure spending from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Transit Authority and other agencies, sources familiar with the bid confirmed.
Creating 50,000 new jobs is important and will help our local and state economies, but is this the best use of our scarce resources? Is there another, better way to create high paying jobs?
Better Answer: More Technical & Manufacturing Entrepreneurs
Two current factors will help formulate a more Pareto Efficient solution. First, entrepreneurship is still alive and well. Look no farther than the west suburban basement of Peter Rahal. Four years ago he launched a novel protein bar called RXBAR.
This gluten, soy and dairy free series of meal replacement bars seized upon current health trends. As a result, Kellogg Company recently purchased the company for $600 million.
A second and related factor has been noticed by my recruiting teams. All of our six divisions including R&D, scientific, engineering, IT, technical and manufacturing have reported a surge in technology hiring over the past 12 months. In particular, new innovations in such fields as artificial intelligence or AI, virtual reality or VR, Big Data, robotics and Internet of Things or IoT are all driving these recruitment gains.
This is important because technology jobs are a lot higher paying than many of the service sector jobs that will be created by Amazon. Additionally, entrepreneurs with engineer, science and research and development backgrounds will create the new fields that will formulate exponentially more jobs.
3 Efforts To Nurture Technology And Entreneurship
As part of his letter to Amazon, Governor Rauner governor complained that Illinois is driving businesses away with regulations and taxes that are more burdensome than its neighbors. He said earlier this month those were concerns he’d heard from Amazon, which has recently opened several new facilities in Illinois.
This is the first part of what government needs to do in order to encourage more entrepreneurial ventures. This is the case because higher taxes and more government regulations tend to choke off entrepreneurship. With all the inherent risks in starting a new company, why would a potential business owner leave a good paying job with so much additional red tape?
Second, more needs to be done to foster better STEM education. It will be tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and technology professionals who will develop the newest AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality), robotics, medical or food breakthroughs like RXBAR. As a result, more efforts need to be made in this area.
Finally, more needs to be invested in successful business educational programs like SCORE. Workshops that they offer such as “How To Really Start Your Own Business” help reduce the risk of business failure.
More Jobs Answers In Two Future Articles
The next two parts of this four part series will focus on other ways a better focus on engineering, scientific, IT, R&D, technical and manufacturing technology will created more jobs.
The key is technical, engineering, IT, R&D and scientific jobs tend to be hiring paying and less discriminatory than other jobs. As a result, a job in technology can be a boon for American workers who are well educated and trained to perform.