The Boston Globe ran an article about Ohio Governor Bob Taft traveling to Boston looking to attract a few more companies — or at least their new or expanded facilities — for Ohio. On the heels of the recent acquisitions by Cincinnati’s Procter & Gamble Co. and Federated Department Stores of Boston’s Gillette Co. and Filene’s respectively, Taft is paying a visit to biotechnology firms Genzyme Corp. and Alkermes Inc., as well as CME Energy. Massachusetts is the fourth state to which Taft has made recruiting trips in the last year.

There is fierce competition for jobs and many states covet high-tech industries with their higher paying salaries (read: more tax dollars for the state). Ohio is still down 180,000 jobs from its prerecession peak, a 3 percent decline, so efforts are being put into grabbing action from outside the state. Ohio’s not alone, though. Ohio is now putting out a nationwide marketing effort to promote a recent tax overhaul that reduces corporate taxes and the state is spending nearly $500,000 to advertise its business-friendly policies in the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Taft and lieutenant governor Bruce Johnson have visited about a half dozen states to conduct what they call “domestic trade missions.” Like many states, Ohio wants to expand its biotechnology and medical sciences sector but they’re up against a lot of competition. According to a 2004 report from the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), 40 states have specifically targeted the biosciences in their economic-development efforts, hoping to bring more high-paying jobs to their communities. All this adds up to a lot of states spending like a drunken sailor on incentives to attract jobs. The average size of incentive packages is estimated at $10,000 per employee although, in 1993, Alabama paid Mercedes Benz an eye-popping $150,000 per job created.

Even though some question if this $50 billion a year subsidy game is worthwhile, it hasn’t slowed the action. See some efforts:






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