Are tax abatements for US Steel justified?

The Jefferson County Commissioners voted last Thursday to grant more than $14 million in tax abatements to U.S. Steel over the next 10 years. It was reported last Wednesday that the alternative would have been for the number of U.S. Steel employees in Fairfield to have gone down to 300 from 2,100 -- 1,800 jobs lost. However, after the tax abatements were granted it was reported that only 300 jobs were saved, meaning 1,500 jobs would be lost. Not only did the tax abatements not save the number of jobs expected from the grant, the County Commission has rewarded one of the largest polluters in Jefferson County and the giant of polluters in the Fairfield/Wylam area. U.S. Steel has been named one of the top 10 polluters in the world who have not been held accountable. The EPA and attorney generals from several states have pending cases trying to stop U.S. Steel's pollution in those states. Tax abatements to fuel the job market can be a very good thing for a governmental body to undertake. The Mercedes operations in Tuscaloosa County is a prime example. The State granted tax abatements to Mercedes for locating there. The Mercedes plant has produced quality jobs at its plant and has caused other satellite industries to locate in the area, creating many more jobs. And, Mercedes does not pollute like U.S. Steel. While the County Commission's intent to save jobs should be applauded, the money was spent on the wrong company.