Civitas Review

Construction Crony: Raise Taxes to Benefit My Company!


At a conference in Winston-Salem last week, government officials and minority business owners discussed the issue of minority-owned businesses receiving a larger share of state government contracts. When discussion turned to a potential $2.8 billion worth of bonds being proposed for state buildings and roads, one of the representatives from a business seeking to benefit from government largesse made an honest statement about his self-interest in seeing the bonds being passed.

During the conference, Calvin Stevens, director of businesses development and diversity at Balfour Beatty Corp. of Charlotte, said minority- and women-owned businesses could take advantage of additional state contracts if the N.C. General Assembly decides to schedule a special election in November for a $2.8 billion bond referendum.

The money would be used for new roads and renovate or repair state government buildings.

Let all vote to raise our taxes, so we will have something to build,” Stevens said to the audience. (emphasis added)

Yep, tax everybody so I benefit. That in a nutshell sums up the 'concentrated benefits and dispersed costs' portion of public choice theory explaining why special interests and lobbyists wield so much power in government. Each individual taxpayer's taxes may only go up a small fraction to pay off the bonds, but construction companies lobbying the government for fat contracts stand to benefit immensely.

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