New York Spends $28 Million to Advertise a Tax Cut That Maybe Created 76 Jobs

Even when government says 'tax-free,' you should reach for your wallet


Hey, it's Tax Day, so what kind of curmudgeon could be against a tax cut? The kind easily irritated by taxpayer-financed propaganda:

The Start-Up NY campaign has spent $28 million in advertising so far, writes the great New York Post columnist and movie reviewer Kyle Smith, while being credited for the creation of 76 jobs. "That's $368,000 per job," Smith notes. More:

The problem is that it's a very, very narrow tax cut. It's only for certain kinds of businesses that do certain kinds of things in certain areas of the state. Surprise: It's had very narrow effects.

It's a classic example of how politicians have an irrepressible urge to tinker, to steer, to organize. Tech jobs in university towns are great, but they aren't defining the New York economy. Start-Up NY's professed goal? Creating 2,100 jobs. Over five years. […]

In a state in which there are 7,775,000 jobs, that's projected job growth of 0.005% a year. Touting this as "economic development" is like saying you're going to fight hunger in India by sending Mumbai one box of Minute Rice.

What's really going on with sluggish job growth? It isn't a mystery. According to the annual survey by TaxFoundation.org, New York is the worst state for taxes. […]

A different survey, completed in 2013 by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranked states by personal and economic freedom. New York was 50th on that list, too.

Smith also points out that Gov. Cuomo has locked down the Yoko Ono vote by irrationally banning fracking in his state, despite its prime location above the bountiful Marcellus Shale.

On this Tax day, it's worth remembering that when a politician uses the word "investment," what he often means in practice is grabbing money from you and spending it very badly in the name of a goal that would be better served by doing neither.