In this month’s Reason, Jeff Sugg lays out the sorry history of southern corporate subsidies, the chief offender being the Heart of Dixie. He wonders, as I often do, whether spending millions on getting the next auto manufacturing plant is really worth the cost. If corporations need massive direct and indirect (tax breaks) subsidies to locate here, perhaps the general regulatory climate needs some looking into? Here’s a radical idea, instead of becoming corporate pawns in costly bidding wars for new businesses, why don’t state governments just cut regulations and taxes for all comers, creating a friendly business climate that doesn’t empty state coffers and makes taxpayers happy. Of course, then politicians couldn’t point to a specific deal, “I brought Mercedes here” or “look how many jobs we brought to Alabama.” However, with a better regulatory and tax climate, state pols could say, “Our focus on providing a fair and equally-administered regulatory and tax regime has resulted in increased growth for the past three years. We believe that further overall tax cuts and eliminating some of the remaining regulatory red tape that faces businesses and individuals will result in even greater growth over the next few years.” Not as catchy a soundbite perhaps, but one that a lot of people could get behind. Not to mention eliminating these special deals would help with some, certainly not all, of the corruption issues we’ve been having here in Bama and that exist in other states.