Funny thing, when you enter a negotiation to build a factory and the government gives you a tax break on the taxes you have to pay on the purchase of the property, you still have to spend the company money to purchase the property, I guess that is the major difference. In Europe RLI ensures that you work, while tax breaks ensures that you spend your own money.
The business in your example is not spending money, it is investing in real estate. Most people interpret the word to spend for money gone (ever heard “he is such a big spender, he keeps buying real estate?”). So, excluding the risk of a drop in real estate prices (which of course has an upside as well), the business in question gets a tax break for substituting one kind of asset (cash) for another kind (real estate). All in all, not a bad deal and clearly helps the business in question by lowering the amount of capital necessary for doing business without any significant risk (in the real estate transaction). Taxes paid on the other hand would have been money gone.
Not sure most of these are one to one swaps, usually other than the Death Tax, most state taxes for property sales is not more than the cost of the property, and since in most cases the land does not belong to the government........
If the property owner needs to be paid in money for his property, that money has to come from somewhere, whether you for tax purposes list that as an investment and claim lower taxes from what the government is already giving you a break on, the money has to come from somewhere, usually that is the company and or its investors.
Money "coming from somewhere" and money being spent are very different things. I will try to make it even simpler: if somebody says to me "If you show me $1,000 in cash in your left pocket and then transfer it to your right pocket, I will pay you $200," the $1,000 "has to come from somewhere" for me to win the $200, but it is at no risk whatsoever. I make the $200 and that is a very
sweet deal, even though the money had to come from somewhere. Buying real estate with one's own money is essentially the same, assuming the buyer pays fair market value and there is no long term drop in property values. I assume you are not suggesting that Boeing should be rewarded just because it was able to produce the money (it is coming from somewhere), without risking it.
The context of the discussion is whether A and B are risking anything for financial help from their governments. It is incorrect to suggest that one of them is at risk because it is "spending" money to qualify for a benefit, if all it is doing is buying land. It is also incorrect to suggest that the other is at risk for a loan it obtains for a particular program and then avoids paying the loan back by lobbying the financier if the program is not successful. I do not personally know the facts of either situation and am merely commenting on these programs as they are described here by various posters.
I am also not expressing a view on whether A or B should be helped by their respective governments. All I am saying is that the idea that a company incurs some risk by spending money by purchasing land and is therefore entitled to be rewarded for that risk-taking (in the form of a tax break or rebate, for financial end results there is no difference between just avoiding a payment versus paying it and getting your money back, in the end you have not
parted with your money or "spent" it), that idea does not hold water. There may be many good reasons for their respective governments to aid these companies financially, but the neo-liberal kool aid rules the day nowadays and we all live in the fairy tales of the benefits of a free market trickling all the way down and the government being nothing but an impediment to the full realization of the fairy tale.