July 17, 2015
Dear Policy Makers:
I’ve moved around the country a lot, and notice that the same themes keep recurring. Assuming that nobody who makes policy is receiving personal monetary gain by supporting one position or the other, could you please do some research on the following questions?
- In actual dollars and cents, has any municipality ever come out ahead by funding a sports stadium?
- Ditto for granting tax breaks to companies. How soon after the tax breaks that lured the company to an area expire do the companies pick up and go elsewhere?
- Has anyone ever put a clause in the above-mentioned contract spelling out penalties for businesses that don’t remain in the area for 20 years after the breaks expire? Why not?
- Has any area that pays low wages (affects tax base/affects education) ever excelled in workforce readiness? (Poor workforce-readiness is a prime business excuse for leaving an area. Then they move on to another place that pays low wages, because they save money on payroll, and get tax breaks to lure them to the area because they will theoretically inject money into the economy.)
- Does granting tax breaks to movie companies really improve the economy long-term?
- Does Eminent Domain benefit anyone but the developer?
- What is the benefit (besides to the homeowner) of allowing more than one bailout per homestead when the home is built in a flood plain, a hurricane zone, or a wildfire zone?
- What is the benefit (besides to the developer) of allowing homes to be built in these zones in the first place?
- Is Downtown Redevelopment the answer, or should we try to work with the urban sprawl we created when we were going crazy with development?
- When planning new municipalities, could we then use that research to either build a strong downtown and not allow the sprawl, or figure out ways to make sprawl work for us? (It can be done if you do it right.)
These issues have been debated for decades. I sort of feel like I’m moving back in time every time I move to a new place and see the same issues cropping up.
I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the Romans at least used a working model.