“Robert White believes that city government should focus its incentive packages on small-to-medium enterprises and locally based companies that will grow in this market, not squander finite resources on companies like Wal-Mart that will enter the market to chase new revenues even without an incentive package.”
On Targeted Incentives: I believe that the smarter investment of our incentives is small-to-medium sized businesses and local entrepreneurs. Compared to multi-national companies, small businesses would benefit from a smaller pool of resources and tax incentives that the city would provide. More specific incentive packages should be made based on neighborhood needs.
For example, let’s provide incentives to four or five small grocery store businesses that agree to set-up shop in Wards 7 and 8. Let’s provide incentives to local and regional suppliers and distributors who bring fresh produce and meats into those stores at affordable prices.
By keeping the incentive packages appropriate and manageable for small business owners, we have an opportunity to seed a full ecosystem of inter-related businesses that grow together and employ our residents. This approach is more likely to yield results and long-term benefits than a single, large incentive package to a big player. As we witnessed with Wal-Mart, a single player can change its mind and squander the investment. In an incentive model that includes many players, the risk posed by any one player will never be enough to undermine the entire effort.