One would think Boca Raton, Florida needs little to entice businesses to relocate here, however the State of Florida, Palm Beach County Commissioners and City of Boca Raton leaders seem to think otherwise. The city and state are already business friendly, and the weather is far superior over a place like Chicago, Illinois. Yet, yesterday it was announced Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) has finalized plans to reap a vast amount of corporate welfare to move from Chicago suburb Schaumburg, Illinois to Boca. The package is reported to be approximately $2.75 million however it could go higher. Illinois will still keep approximately 600 CTCA employees as part of their state's corporate welfare plan with the company.
Not to disparage CTCA, as they are a superior, for profit network of five hospitals treating advanced-stage cancers, and by all measures will be an asset to Palm Beach County and especially Boca Raton. It is, however a shame elected officials feel this need to continually hand out freebies to corporations causing an unfair advantage for those businesses not receiving the same. Such deals are crony capitalism at best and anti-free market at their worst. Tragically, behind most of this corporate welfare are Republicans who have been decrying about President Obama's pick of "winners and losers," yet they are just as guilty as to deciding who gets the party favors and who does not.
Even the Republican-leaning Americans for Prosperity sees the problems with offering corporate welfare while denying others as they outline in their Five for Florida Plan. Although corporate welfare has been around for decades, it really seemed to pick up steam in the mid-90s under President Clinton. It has become an addictive drug governments use for fear of losing the ability to convince corporations to move to their area. Libertarians are strongly against businesses or individuals receiving tax subsidies for all the reasons mentioned above. As part of the Libertarian Party's platform they say:
"Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society."
CTCA expects to employ 225 full-time staff which will include a combination of those moving from Illinois and new hires from our local area; no site in Boca Raton has been decided at this point. The move is expected to begin as early as the third quarter of this year.
Tax subsidies will come from the State of Florida, Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton. Governor Scott said, “We’re proud that Cancer Treatment Centers of America took a one-way ticket to the Sunshine State, and will add more than 200 new jobs to the region. This great news builds on Office Depot’s recent announcement that following their merger with OfficeMax, they too will setup their global head quarters in Boca Raton. To continue this success, we’re working to cut $500 million in taxes and fees this upcoming session to create an opportunity economy that provides generations of families with great careers, so they can pursue the American Dream.” City of Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel said, “We are excited to have Cancer Treatment Centers of America become part of our community."