Sarasota News Leader

05/02/2014

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OPINION EDITORIAL COUNTY COMMISSION SHOULD USE EXCESS TOURISM TAXES FOR ASSET DEVELOPMENT INSTEAD OF PROMOTIONS EDITORIAL In the decades follow- i n g Wo r l d Wa r I I , northern manufacturers were looking for locations in the South, where the weather was more moderate, property taxes were con- siderably lower and average wages were a lot less than those paid to a mostly union work- force in their current locations. Southern states reacted by establishing offices for economic development, which would work with companies contemplating new plant locations in the South. Counties and larger cities, not content to trust their states to direct industrial prospects to their corners of the state, estab- lished their own industrial development commissions, with staffing and budgets for industrial recruitment. And thus began what has been disparagingly referred to as the "Great Buffalo Hunt" — scores of industrial recruiters from cities, counties and states falling all over themselves to solicit fewer and fewer manufacturing plant relocations. Rather than call off the effort when that truth became evident, all of those agencies "doubled down," offering more and more incentives to lure dwindling industrial jobs to their areas. In the latter days of the Great Buffalo Hunt, forward-thinking communities realized that tourism had almost as significant an impact on their local economies as industrial OPINION

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