New Jobs for Whom?
The Seattle PI noted that to salvage the gas tax:
The state’s most powerful business lobbyists, Gov. Christine Gregoire and leading lawmakers immediately stepped in to keep negotiations alive through yesterday. The transportation package was a top goal of the business lobby.
The PI was so busy glowing over the process that they forgot to tell us about these lobbyists. To find out you have to go read the related Seattle Times story:
“This is absolutely historic,” said Duke Schaub, lobbyist for Associated General Contractors of Washington and one of the most powerful figures in Olympia. “This means thousands and thousands of new jobs.”
No one should be surprised that the AGC is thrilled by this. But if you just read the PI you would be surprised to find out that not all Washington business interests supported the tax hike:
“It’s a huge concern for us,” said Carolyn Logue, a small-business lobbyist. “There has been nothing done this session to relieve costs for small business. … Some are going to be very hurt by this.”
Now the Times doesn’t expand on Logue’s concerns but one possible concern jumps out immediately. The contractors see their pockets being lined with billions of dollars worth of new work. But this is not new money. It is money that will be diverted from other businesses, many of them small businesses. You and I would have spent this money on other goods and services: cups of coffee, new clothes for our children, groceries, books and magazines, and hundreds of items. All these businesses will lose the revenue that will instead go to these new projects. There will be no net gain of jobs.