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Corporate Welfare: Arlington County Style

Last month, an Arlington County press release announced that publishing firm BNA, Inc. would be moving its operations from the District to South Bell Street in Crystal City. A subsequent press release from Gov. Warner's office noted that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and a $1 million grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund helped facilitate BNA's move to Crystal City. Thanks to reporting in the July 7 issue of the Arlington Sun-Gazette, we also learn that Arlington taxpayers will be ponying up $1 million as well. The weekly newspaper wrote, "County officials confirmed that they will spend $1 million in enhancements to the area around the South Bell building . . . The $1 million is a required local match of (the) state grant." While the $2 million used to entice BNA to move to Arlington is nothing to sneeze at, it was minimal compared to the $287 million that North Carolina taxpayers will provide to get the Dell Computer company to locate a manufacturing plant there. Interestingly, the British online newspaper The Register reported that "Virginia was thought to be in the running for the Dell plant and helped push North Carolina's bid higher. In the end, it turned out that Virginia was only willing to offer $40 million. The Register also reported that a "lawsuit on behalf of seven individuals who want a court to decide if using tax revenue to fund such grants is constituional" has been filed. The article also provides a link to what it term's Dell's "plush package." Additional details on the BNA move to Crystal City are provided by The Arlington Connection.