Intel-ligent Stimulus

Intel announced last week that it will bring almost 7,000 new jobs to Oregon by expanding in Hillsboro. That is 7,000 individuals who will be paying taxes and spending money in Oregon. This is unusually good news in this time of economic trouble and high unemployment.

But why did Intel choose Oregon when it could build anywhere? Especially when certain Oregon taxes are significantly higher than taxes in many other states. Intel has a number of special tax deals with the state of Oregon and local governments that allow it to keep a competitive edge in a world marketplace. It gets special tax exemptions on much of its property and equipment. Furthermore, most of its income is also exempt from Oregon’s corporate taxes because the company sells most of its products outside of the state. Yet, even many who a year ago claimed that Oregon’s businesses aren’t paying their “fair share” will be encouraged by this news. That’s because 7,000 private sector jobs will breathe fresh life into the area.

But why should Intel get special treatment? The same low taxes that encouraged Intel to build here in Oregon also would encourage other businesses to come or to stay here. Government can best “create” jobs by getting out of the way. Low taxes and a stable regulatory environment allow entrepreneurs to do what they do best – creating jobs and products that consumers value.

Christina Martin is Director of the Asset Ownership Project at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.