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Sunday, July 20, 2003

Are cities at a disadvantage?


Dealing with big business

The $63 million deal to keep Convergys in downtown Cincinnati would have been the biggest tax incentive package in the city's history.

But a majority of city council balked at the cost of the incentives and Mayor Charlie Luken cancelled a meeting rather than let council vote the deal down.

Are mega-million dollar tax breaks worth it to cities trying to keep their corporate citizens happy? Or are big businesses just big bullies who cow cities into financial capitulation with threats to leave town?

People like Convergys CEO James Orr say Cincinnati will enjoy huge long-term financial benefits that will far outweigh the costs of the incentives. Others aren't so sure.

Many, including some members of council, view the threats of companies to leave town unless they get tax breaks to be extortionate.

Some experts recommend calling a company's bluff by developing firm city policies on the type and amount of incentives that will be approved. But in those cases, the experts warn, a town has to be willing to hold the line and accept the fact that some companies will take the better offers they can get elsewhere.


MORE ABOUT CONVERGYS DEAL
Expert: Reform incentive policies
How city can cope
Cities face hard work trying to keep firms

EDITORIALS
Convergys I: Make the deal
Convergys II: Incentives
Federal budget: Fix the deficit

GUEST COLUMNS
James Orr: Convergys deal is a defining moment
Greg Harris: Regionalism must be our new focus




SPECIAL REPORT: THE CONVERGYS DEAL
Are cities at a disadvantage?
Cities face hard work trying to keep firms
Expert: Reform incentive policies
How city can cope
Convergys I: Make the deal
Convergys II: Incentives
Greg Harris: Regionalism must be our new focus
James Orr: Convergys deal is a defining moment

OTHER OPINIONS
Federal budget: Fix the deficit
Homeless need a dose of empathy from their critics
Readers' Views