Pfizer lesson: Do big-business tax incentives deliver?
Tax incentives, like the one Ann Arbor gave to Pfizer in 2001, often don’t result in the economic benefits local governments think they will, reports Michigan Capitol Confidential, a publication of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free market think tank.
As the Ann Arbor area struggled with the job losses at Pfizer as well as others wrought by the faltering economy, jobless rates rose from 5.5 percent in 2007 to 10.3 percent in 2009, the article notes. But the jobless rate now stands at 5.9 percent.
Big business deals “don’t account for much,” the Mackinac Center’s James Hohman said in a quote in the article.
Community leaders say a coordinated response helped soften the blow of Pfizer’s leaving. The economic development organization Ann Arbor SPARK and its then-CEO Michael Finney played an integral role in organizing that response, local leaders said.
Eventually, the University of Michigan bought the site and has said it plans to have 1,700 workers employed there by the end of the year.