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GE: Congressional opposition to subsidies is a 'deal killer' for states

May 6, 2016 Washington Examiner By TIMOTHY P. CARNEY (@TPCARNEY

(Here is why we could not kill the Ex-Im Bank - a look under the blankets-Pat)

At a recent panel hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the senior tax counsel for General Electric explicitly stated what the company's executives had suggested: As a policy, the company will avoid doing business in states whose congressmen oppose federal subsidy programs.

Check out the slide below from the presentation, by GE's Bobby Burgner and Douglas Lindholm of the Council On State Taxation (COST).

The presentation wasn't about export subsidies. It was about state tax policies and how they affect business decisions. This slide listed some "deal killers": factors that would cause GE to stay out of a state. One of three factors: "Unwillingness to Support 'Big Picture' Interests."

Translated: A congressional delegation that opposes the Export-Import Bank. Ex-Im  

 

was the only example Burgner gave, according to one attendee.

GE officials have earlier hinted at this innovative lobbying tactic. The company in 2014 said it refused to move to Dallas because conservative lawmakers Jeb Hensarling and Ted Cruz led the charge against Ex-Im, which extends taxpayer-backed financing to foreign companies and foreign governments that buy U.S. goods.

GE is a top beneficiary of Ex-Im, as financer that gets Ex-Im guarantees, as a manufacturer whose foreign customers get Ex-Im subsidies and even indirectly as a foreign buyer (when a GE factory complex in Mexico got Ex-Im financing).

Earlier this year, Washington state lawmakers pointed to their defense of Ex-Im (Washington's Boeing is Ex-Im's No. 1 exporter, by a mile) as a tool they used to woo GE.

Note that a congressional delegation's vote on Ex-Im doesn't affect the availability of Ex-Im subsidies in a state. So this is not an instance of a company seeking states where they think they can maximize profits. This is lobbying by other means, and it sheds light on companies' policies of avoiding states with protections for religious liberty and states that don't give large corporate handouts.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

 

 

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GE: Congressional opposition to subsidies is a 'deal killer' for states
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