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Taxing to Sue

The Town of Boone is suing the state for eliminating its ETJ. Now, Watauga County has decided to join the lawsuit to fight on behalf of the people, or perhaps itself. Some of the commissioners thought it did not serve the taxpayers to collect taxes here and there for lawsuits in the name of property rights.

Chair Nathan Miller explained his stance:

Miller recalled a . . . situation in which a farmer wanted to build a road to be able to get hay on the side of a mountain, but the town wouldn’t allow it without the construction of accompanying sidewalks.

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Searching for Words to Justify Emotion

Getting dragged into the fray, I invite all with telepathic powers, sufficient to read the hearts and minds of those involved through their TV sets, to go stand by the Vance Memorial today at 5:00. As for me, I have better things to do than try to figure out a good reason why people need to loot buildings, other than for freebies and a sense of belonging.

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Saving Face for Tokens with Acronyms of the Vision

Outgoing Asheville Police Department Chief William Anderson has decided to forego the department’s reaccreditation process, as the APD has lost all sense of public confidence, and following through could make accreditation appear to the rest of the community as it appears to me.

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Warm Traffic Fines of the Season

Over the river and through the woods, and through the traffic blockade, happy families across the nation will try to go see aging parents without losing a small fortune for having a headlight out this holiday season.

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For Junior on Christmas Break

The Sentinel Patriot Club in Hendersonville is offering cash rewards to the students, teachers, and schools that can produce the best essays on a topic related to the US Constitution. For details, go here for finder’s fees payable in search engine ranking, and it will direct you to this site.

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How Many Bureaucrats Does It Take to Pluck a Hair?

A headline in the Hendersonville Times-News reads:

Henderson County Woman Named to State Electrolysis Board.

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Say “Children,” Spend Money, and Feel the Positive Energy

AG Roy Cooper wants school buses to have cameras because people are not obeying the stop arms, white lights, yellow lights, and whatever else is going on. I would prefer to add disco balls, lava lamps, and bullhorns (both kinds) to further lose the public on when they’re actually supposed to stop.

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Flaunting My Ignorance

I sent the following off in an email to a prof at WCU this morning. I thought I’d cut and paste it here in case anybody out there would care to help me with my “ill-thinking-out”:

I must say I am skeptical of the graphs presented to us every time the commissioners give a presentation on economic development incentives. I am willing to be wrong, but first I need some facts. We could talk on the phone, but I am really interested in learning about the algorithms in IMPLAN. I am assuming they are proprietary, but there are surely texts on economic analysis, or web sites, where I can sit down and look at variables, definitions, and parameterizations.

In order to save time, I could give you a brief summary of some of the things rattling in the vacuum between my ears:

For starters, it appears you define an economy as the sum of all dollars exchanged within a specified region. For example, if a dollar comes in from South Carolina, gets traded three times, and then goes out, we would be four dollars richer. This is based on what we hear about paying a person $30,000 will bring $100,000 into the economy.

That definition does not sit well with me, based on simple notions of trade. That is, if somebody spends a dollar in my shop, unless I am a masseuse or a fortune teller, I end up losing inventory as well as costs for manufacturing and order fulfillment. My instincts say we should only be including markups here.

Does the model address potential losses in investment? That is, conventional wisdom teaches that saving for big things results in a stronger economy than blowing chunk change on trinkets. What little I know about the program leads me to believe it gives all credit to transacted, rather than invested, dollars.

I am assuming the term, “investment in the community,” short of corporate gifting, pertains to purchases from local vendors. Do we subtract the raw materials from the vendors’ inventory or assume dollars are created rather than exchanged in trade?

I could ask the general question of how opportunity costs are calculated. How is the reality that some percentage of wares would be sold to other companies treated?

On job creation, we are not told anything about where the employees originate. I have a vague recollection of reading a study somewhere that said new jobs create vacancies in existing businesses, and it takes about three or four displacements of the currently employed, on average, to get an unemployed person a job. It is likely all three or four jobs will not be filled by local people. Is this considered?

When we speak of indirect and induced jobs, how is this calculated? Particularly when it comes to induced jobs, I am assuming, and this could be a stretch in the absence of any knowledge of IMPLAN’s code, that you would look at the amount of money employees are receiving, assuming an average percentage is spent in the local economy, and assuming another percentage of that goes toward hiring at local businesses, as opposed to investment, taxes, and other business expenditures. What is the formula?

When we talk about the ROI, it seems the city, state, and county all claim the same numerator for their respective denominators. Is this fair? Do the numbers work so miraculously with jobs created by the private sector?

As for taxes, a new company, and its employees should consume an amount of government services. When we calculate tax revenues with IMPLAN, are we subtracting the extra police officers, teachers, infrastructure, copy paper, vehicle miles, and such other expenses government will incur?

As more and more companies rely on government to help fund employees, real estate, and equipment; do we include an iterative function to chop off percentages of the total because government is spending tax dollars on that which it taxes?

Well, that’s a start. Again, if you could email me back some answers, or direct me to some textbooks that address my concerns, I would be grateful. I hope you can understand my skepticism. I see these charts of skyrocketing ROI’s all the time, and frankly, I’m not feeling a thing. Your assistance would be most appreciated.

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Just What the Truth Is . . . I Can’t Say Anymore

Yesterday, we reported that the Western North Carolina Alliance and the Sierra Club were on the verge of getting their collective wrist slapped for falsely signing businesses on to a letter asking Duke Energy to kindly shut down its Lake Julian power plant. Operating since 1964, the largest (324 Mw) electrical plant in Western North Carolina is somewhat of an institution for, say, keeping people safe and warm in temperatures we have recently been able live to tell about. That was yesterday.

Today, we read that the WNCA is merging with the Environmental and Conservation Organization and the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance to form an organization with the name . . .

. . . MountainTrue.

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Eenie, Meenie, . . . Meenie, Eenie, Annie, Manny, . . .

The Town of Sylva has commissioned its second study this year to determine whether traffic on Main Street should be one-way or two-way. $10,000 matched a grant of the same amount from the Southwestern Commission. One would assume, since there are two possible answers to the question, that if the town fathers did not like the answer they got from the first study, they should be able to, without spending $20,000, figure out what’s left.

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