Consider another: United Airlines announced its competition to select a town for a new billion-dollar aircraft-repair base. The bidding for the prize of 7,500 jobs paying at least $25 per hour was fast and furious, with Orlando offering $154 million in incentives and Denver more than twice that amount. Kentucky’s governor angrily rescinded Louisville’s offer of $300 million, likening the bidding to “squeezing every drop of blood out of a turnip.”
When United finally selected from among the 93 cities bidding on the base, the winner was Indianapolis and its $320 million offer of taxpayers’ money.
But a few years later, with United near bankruptcy, and having fulfilled its legal obligation, the company walked away from the massive center. This left the city and state governments out all that money, with no new tenant in sight. The city now even owns the tools, neatly arranged in each of the 12 elaborately equipped hangar bays. United outsourced its maintenance to mechanics at a southern firm (which pays one-third of what United paid in salary and benefits in Indianapolis).
- What are the ethical, legal, and economic implications of such location bidding wars?
- Who pays for such giveaways?
- Are local citizens allowed to vote on offers made by their cities, counties, or states?
- Should there be limits on these incentives?
- Tell me your viewpoint on outsourcing? Pro or Con? There is no wrong answer. Tell me why you feel this way.