Cash-strapped communities have a message for corporations that promised jobs in return for tax breaks: A deal’s a deal.
As the economy sputters along, municipalities struggling to fix roads, fund schools and pay bills increasingly are rescinding tax abatements to companies that don’t hire enough workers, that lay them off or that close up shop. At the same time, they’re sharpening new incentive deals, leaving no doubt what is expected of companies and what will happen if they don’t deliver.
“We will roll out the red carpet as much as we can (but) they are going to honor the contract,” said Brendon Gallagher, an alderman in DeKalb, Ill., where Target Corp. got abatements from the city, county, school district and other taxing bodies after promising at least 500 jobs at a local distribution center.
So when the company came up 66 workers short in 2009, Target got word its next tax bill would be jumping almost $600,000 — more than half of which goes to the local school district, where teachers and programs have been cut as coffers dried up.