In 2015 Pima County officials put taxpayers on the hook for $15 million in new debt in order to build a new headquarters for a private company called World View Enterprises. County officials said they were subsidizing this business to help improve the economy. In a new study released today, a California State Northridge professor explains that subsidizing individual companies at the expense of taxpayers and other businesses is rarely a recipe for economic success. Instead, she recommends the County focus on reducing regulations and improving community services that will benefit all businesses.
“Instead of negotiating subsidies to individual private firms, such as World View, Pima County should focus on efforts that make the community attractive to firms in general and to the workers they might hire,” said Shirley V. Svorny, Ph.D., an economics professor at California State University Northridge. “The County would be best off directing its resources toward local public services.”
To spur economic activity, Dr. Svorny says local governments have several alternatives to risky, World View-like deals. Her new study, Economic Development in Pima County, outlines several alternatives, including: