The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Do Businesses Need Government Incentives to Save Money?

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lightbulb

Is it really the job of government to use tax dollars to try and convince businesses to embrace energy-efficient products when it's the businesses that will reap the savings down the road?

You may not know it, but you’ve already ponied up to help some Palmetto State businesses lower their future utility bills.

That’s because nearly $3 million in stimulus money will soon be available as incentives to existing South Carolina companies interested in such energy efficiency steps as swapping out incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent ones.

The S.C. Energy Office will partner with the S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development to provide the incentives, according to an announcement made this week. In all, the S.C. Energy Office will provide up to $2.8 million in incentives.

Current plans are for the program to be open to existing companies making at least $1 million in energy efficiency-related improvements and adding at least 10 jobs.

One of the problems with this program: throwing away working light bulbs to install new light bulbs in order to stimulate the economy.

As Bastiat showed more than 150 years ago, economic growth can’t be created by destroying property.

More to the point, why should government use tax dollars to try and convince businesses to use a certain product simply because it’s more energy efficient?

Why not leave that decision to business owners, who certainly don’t need government handouts to figure out what’s best for their balance sheets in the long run.

To read more about this type of misguided effort, see the Environment section of the Policy Council’s The S.C. General Assembly: Best and Worst of 2009.

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Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

October 8, 2009 at 8:30 am

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