Liberty First Network announced the release of their 'Corporate Welfare and the 2014 Florida legislative Session' report yesterday, July 16, 2014. The 16 page analysis by John Hallman provides the details of the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentive and all-out handouts. What is often called "economic development" by government is often nothing more than welfare for corporations and crony capitalism. Libertarians do not believe the government should be in the role of venture capitalists, utilizing taxpayer money and the strong power that government can wield.
All types of corporations have their hands out asking to receive taxpayer money. Film companies, airlines, office supply companies, farmers, convenience stores—there is no end to the line going to the government to help subsidize their business.
Much to the surprise to many liberals, the Koch brothers are against corporate welfare and utilize their Americans for Prosperity (AFP) organization in that vein. In Florida, AFP has their Five for Florida plan which calls for an end to the practice.
Corporate welfare a/k/a Economic Development is the practice involving the government, at all levels, handing taxpayer money over to corporations to hopefully hire a certain number of workers at a certain salary over a certain period of time. The welfare to corporations can come in the form of cash, property tax relief or not paying income taxes. The practice often results in a failure of the business or venture and results in taxpayers subsidizing the failed endeavor.
The most notable failure in Florida is Digital Domain, a Port St. Lucie company which failed in 2012 after receiving millions from the State of Florida gratis of then Governor Charlie Crist. Digital Domain received far more from the city of West Palm Beach and the city of Port St. Lucie. This is just one story of many that dot the nation leaving taxpayers holding the bag, yet is rarely exposed to the general public.
In the news lately is the looting of federal taxpayers through the Export-Import bank which doles out money to large corporations who lobby to get loans others are not able. Reason recently provided a video to help the public understand how the Export-Import bank works. The Export-Import bank is another corporate welfare boondoggle which libertarians feel should end.
The power of government officials to hand out money and other incentives harms true entrepreneurial endeavors, which is contrary to what you will often hear from government officials. Libertarians would like to see an end to the practice as it will often lead to "play-to-play" voting by elected representatives. While these same politicians are in gridlock over expansions of social programs, they seem to come together perfectly when expending taxpayer dollars to corporate friends and large donors.