Another Phrase for “Taxpayer Subsidized”
This group of industries seems a bit too narrow to count as a “knowledge economy” or to stand as comprehensive representatives of the value of intellectual capital. Indeed, another quality that they share would be a much better descriptor:
The knowledge economy refers to the health-care, life-sciences, research and green-technology sectors and to the idea that work, jobs and wealth are created with innovative brain power.
Especially with healthcare and “green” technology, the application of knowledge isn’t much more relevant than it is in just about any industry, but what all of these sectors have in common is that they’re taxpayer subsidized. Note the examples:
In 2009, Lifespan Hospitals successfully sought $49.2 million in competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health, he said. Brown University pulled in $180 million in research grants for the 2009-2010 school year, a 37-percent increase over the previous year, Hatfield said. And the University of Rhode Island got $105 million in grants, 60 percent more than three years earlier …
Grants, if not given directly by government departments, are typically provided by tax-exempt entities, and in the cited cases, they’re going to tax exempt entities. The picture accompanying the story features Providence Mayor-elect Angel Tavares, General Treasurer-elect Gina Raimondo, and state Sen Joshua Miller (D, Cranston); one wonders whether and why they’re supportive of a strategy of relying on organizations that don’t pay taxes to grow the state’s economy.
Fortuitously, Jim Hummel’s latest report expands on the broadly recognized fact that almost 40% of Providence property is currently owned by tax-exempt groups by catching retail enterprises that serve the knowledge economy as selected partners failing to charge sales tax. The immediate controversy is that the stores (including a Starbucks) are supposed to tax non-students, but even were they complying with that rule, exempting sales taxes for certain private businesses can only harm others that seek to capitalize on “knowledge economy” participants like students.