Recently, both the county and city voted to give Syngenta Corp. almost $4 million in incentives to keep the Chinese-owned business located here.

This corporation is supposedly valuable to the local area because it employs 650 people. Local politicians want to keep those jobs here, but at what cost?

Taxpayers will be out about $4 million. Does the expense seem justified? Studies have shown that there is very little real return for such corporate handouts.

The other requirement for the $4 million corporate welfare is that Syngenta must invest $68 million over 10 years. Why are our local politicians giving away tax money to encourage a major international corporation to upgrade facilities in Guilford? Syngenta can afford to invest its own money to improve its local holdings. These investments serve mostly the corporation, not the local community.

Syngenta is also a dangerous corporation. Do we want to encourage it to continue to poison local communities? It paid $1,203,498 to settle out-of-court lawsuits regarding improper and illegal packaging of some of its most controversial chemicals. Syngenta was also a defendant in a class-action lawsuit in Illinois concerning the adverse effects of atrazine in human water supplies. The suit was settled for $105 million in May 2012.

This is another shortsighted move to help a big corporation when ordinary people are neglected. Amazon tried to get money from New York City and New York state. Those millions should have been used to maintain its mass-transit Metro, badly in need of repairs.

Similarly, taxpayer money should be spent to help people locally. And so Councilwoman Michelle Kennedy’s lone dissenting vote must be applauded.

The $4 million giveaway could have been used to help local populations in need of assistance. For example, small businesses should be given incentives to provide inexpensive child care for working families whose mothers are forced to find jobs outside the home to make ends meet in these troubled times.

Perhaps we can understand Republicans for agreeing to this giveaway. But why do Democrats support corporate welfare?

The writer lives in Greensboro.

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