Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 216
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for November 20, 2003, printed December 4

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Did you read about the scandal developing in St. Louis? The one about the tax credits, supposedly for businesses opening in a depressed area? Thatís tax credits issued to firms that never really started business. Essentially, it appears that someone was running a type of scam.

What has this to do with Warrensburg? The government is taking money from citizens in one area and giving it to someone else to help a business. The real scam is the government practice of directly favoring businesses of a specific type or a specific location through tax credits, subsidies and other transfers of taxpayer money. And subsidies to retail businesses are the worst of the lot.

A few years back we narrowly avoided supporting what has proved to be a growing retail development north of town and west of MO-13 when the City Council voted down a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposal. The vote was only 3-2, despite concerted opposition by other taxing districts and the developmentís obvious failure to comply with all the requirements of state law. While it didnít happen here, in some places, TIF has been used to benefit favored insiders, even to the extent of allowing them to take private property to benefit a commercial business.

All of us would be better off if governments would quit using taxpayer dollars to subsidize chosen businesses or even to pirate businesses and industries from other locations. While I donít know what Warrensburg is doing in the industrial development area, I hope our city doesnít get involved in such scams.

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