Decision 2019: Should Nashville limit incentives to draw new businesses?

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Nashville’s skyline is a testimony to how incentives have spurred growth in our city.

Bridgestone Americas relocated its corporate headquarters to downtown Nashville, in exchange for $56 million in incentives. The Omni Hotel is receiving a $62 million taxpayer subsidy. Amazon will bring 5,000 jobs at a cost of $17 million in taxpayer-funded incentives.

The question we’ve posed to the leading mayoral candidates: "Should Nashville limit incentives to draw new businesses?"

David Briley said yes.

"You never really hear about the incentives where I’ve said no. We don’t publicize those, but what you see this week is a new company relocating from San Francisco to Nashville, 450 new jobs, with no local incentives," Briley said.

John Ray Clemmons said yes.

"When we sit down to negotiate with large corporations, we shouldn’t be pushing all of our chips across the table and begging them to come to Nashville. There should be two-way negotiations and we should be demanding investments in our public schools, infrastructure and affordable housing,” Clemmons said.

John Cooper said yes.

"We don’t need to pay people to come here anymore. Incentives need to go to parts of town that really need it, not parts of town that have already benefitted by it. It needs to go to find jobs for people who live here now. Jobs at higher wage levels for people who need higher wages," Cooper said.

Carol Swain said yes.

"Previous mayors have practically given away the city, when we are the kind of location that businesses want to come here, and so we need a mayor who is a tough negotiator who can cut deals that benefit the city and we need to ask the companies that want to come here, what they can do for us,” Swain said.

WSMV’s 10 questions with Nashville’s four Mayoral candidates

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