Audit Notes: Cash Giveaway, Bloomberg Views (in the WSJ), Lede of the Week

Jeff Amy of the Mobile Press-Register has some good reporting on corporate welfare in Alabama.

He writes that businesses aren’t profitable enough to take advantage of all the corporate tax credits available for new capital investment in the state. So the governor is proposing to let companies sell off their unused tax credits and keep the cash.

So the bill allows a firm to make a one-time transfer of unused credits.

That means the company can sell the write-off to a firm that owes taxes, making it more likely that credits will be used…

Mazerov called such sales an unfortunate trend. “It just makes it clearer that they are more of a cash giveaway,” he said.


— Bloomberg News chief Matt Winkler has a shiny new website called Bloomberg Views, meant to be a sort of sane counterpart to The Wall Street Journal’s dodgy editorial page. (Fun fact: It’s also supposed to be “consistent with the values and beliefs of the founder — even if he happens to be mayor of New York City.”) It even has voice of God editorials nowadays.

So where does Winkler go when he wants to be heard on why the European Central Bank should release documents related to the Greek bailouts?

The Wall Street Journal op-ed page, of course.

— Lede of the week goes to Dana Mattioli and The Wall Street Journal on a piece about Scotts Miracle-Gro trying to put the pot in potting soil.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has long sold weed killer. Now, it’s hoping to help people grow killer weed.

What kind of a CEO goes after the marijuana growers market?

The 55-year-old Mr. Hagedorn isn’t a typical suit-wearing CEO. A former F-16 fighter pilot, he flies his Cessna to and from meetings in Port Washington, N.Y., where he grew up, and the company’s headquarters in Ohio, much to the chagrin of his board. He also peppers his language with swear words and military references, and he showed up at the office on a recent June day in jeans and sneakers.

Mr. Hagedorn took over Miracle-Gro from his father, who co-founded the company. The idea to merge with Scotts dawned on him after he looked at the company’s market value in 1995, he said, so he called his father’s tax lawyer to vet the idea. “I said, ‘Bob, I got this f— crazy idea. Do you think it’d be f— possible to take over Scotts?’” he recalls, sitting in the Port Washington office that his father once occupied.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,