Free Market advocates take note: Corporate Welfare is alive and thriving in the Keystone state! According to PR Newswire, Gov. Mark Schweiker announced this week that Target will build a 1.6 million-square-foot distribution center in Chambersburg, Franklin County, creating “at least 1,000 new jobs” over the next three years. The facility will be located on a 137-acre site at I-81 and Guilford Springs Road. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the Governor said, “1,000 new jobs are on `target’ for Central Pennsylvania! I am delighted to welcome Target Stores to the Commonwealth and, more importantly, I welcome the 1,000 jobs they’ll create.” Target, which had sales last year of nearly $37,000,000,000, was offered a candy store of taxpayer’s incentives to build in Schweiker’s state. The new distribution center will serve Target Stores in Pennsylvania and other mid-Atlantic states. Construction is expected to begin in December of this year. The company expects the facility to open in the summer of 2003.The Governor’s Action Team — economic-development professionals who report directly to Gov. Schweiker — worked with Target to use tax dollars to subsidize one of the richest retail giants on the globe. Gov. Schweiker has agreed to provide an outlandish $5,875,000 incentive package to support the Target project, including an Opportunity Grant, Job Creation Tax Credits, a Customized Job Training grant, an Infrastructure Development Program grant, and Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDNet) funds. Couldn’t Target have built this facility using its own corporate funds? In plain English, local and state taxpayers provided enough welfare to Target to attract the company to the site. Millions of dollars in corporate welfare to allow Target to build the brain center for its push into the mid Atlantic states. The opening of more Targets will allow the company to displace hundreds of smaller businesses, throw hundreds of people out of work, and lead to the blighting of other retail properties in communities across Pennsylvania. Smaller retailers might well ask the Governor what he has done for them recently — other than use tax giveaways to bring in an out of state corporation that will take market share away from the locals. The press release from the Governor’s office said that “Target Stores give back more than $1.5 million a week to its local communities through grants and special programs. Since opening its first store in 1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations, guests and team members to help meet community needs.” Although the Governor touts the 1,000 jobs at the distribution center, his office provided no details on the number of jobs that would be lost in his state as Target continues its sprawling expansion across Pennsylvania.
Welfare for national retailers. What message does that send to the small merchant who owns one or two stores in the downtown of some small community. He received no tax break from the Governor to buy his property. He had no tax breaks for job creation. It seems that the Governor was saving the big tax breaks for the big corporations, and the Governor’s claims of new jobs are a form of “fuzzy math”, since they completely ignore the job losses that will occur elsewhere in the region. So much for the invisible hand of the free market, this is one Governor who believes in very visible hand-outs instead. Go to www.state.pa.us and link to the Governor’s website. Send him an email suggesting that his corporate welfare for Target is anti-business, and definitely off-target.