Last night, the City of Asheville approved a cornucopia. Linamar will be receiving an economic development incentive from the city valued at $2.2 million. This is in addition to the $10 million promised by Buncombe County in grants. In addition, the county purchased the building for Linamar to hold it off the tax rolls until the company is ready to move in. Linamar will also receive waivers of inspection and permitting fees. The state is throwing in two “functioning” traffic lights – as opposed to the one I have to avoid on the way to work in the morning because it never turns green.
Anyway, the investment has government people all excited. The new mantra is “$125 million invested with 400 jobs created.” Mayor Terry Bellamy assured the public all the jobs would be new jobs, and that the taxpayers won’t be subsidizing a dime. The city’s incentive will come as 90% rebates off taxes Linamar would have paid in its first five years of operation. That’s a net gain for the city!
Only Cecil Bothwell wasn’t caught up in the magic. He asked if Linamar would not be receiving municipal services, like fire protection, during those five years. Of course it would. And all other businesses would be paying 100% of the supposed cost for those services. Bothwell didn’t argue. His peers had too many stars in their eyes of, for example, jobs multipliers creating two or three jobs for each of the 400 jobs created by Linamar. Linamar would become a pillar of the community. It would be one of the greatest employers in the area.
Back on earth, where budgets still have expenditures as well as revenues, Bothwell further expressed disdain at the city having to compete for business by dangling enticements. He didn’t care if everybody else was doing it, somebody, somewhere had to say enough.
Everybody was happy that government would be creating jobs. Nobody was socialist or fascist. They just thought government (at best control and power, in practice bureaucracy and waste, and at worst tyranny and horror) should create jobs. Everybody but Bothwell thought it was nifty-keeno that tax revenue from subducting established businesses could support the new kid in town.
Unfortunately, Bothwell spoke as if capitalism, and not crony capitalism, was the enemy. If a group of people choose to take advantage of economies of scale to produce at a profit interchangeable parts that society deems helpful, so be it. The problem is when corporations swing sweetheart deals with the powers that be to secure competitive advantage over other producers who are trying to stay in business with superior output.
During the invocation (which has been politically redefined to mean “recitation” lest an absence of God be offended), Bothwell blasted corporations as being greedy and setting up an aristocracy. Citing quotes from the Founding Fathers, he told how corporations had the potential to undermine the Republic. Bothwell praised the presidents Roosevelt for their anti-corporate actions.Read full article » No Comments »
The stock market is plunging, another recession looms, London is burning, and city council deliberated at length over how they should select candidates to interview for the Planning and Zoning Commission and what the name of a new community center should be.Read full article » No Comments »
In North Carolina, milk is regulated to the point that local dairy farmers are not interested in selling it locally. They must test it and have it licensed by state and federal authorities to sell to dairy pools, but they must jump through other hoops to take it to a farmer’s market. That is why Spring Ridge Creamery is the only WNC dairy that sells its own milk. The number of dairy farmers in “the region” dropped 70% between 1985 and 2007. Most of the remainder aren’t expected to stick around long. Those wanting to buy local milk, reportedly, can pick it up on the black market.Read full article » No Comments »
Jackson is a dry county, but it is full of booze, relates Quintin Ellison in the Smoky Mountain News. That is because businesses take advantages of loopholes in state legislation. Ellison describes the law as being “tailor-made.” For example, exempted from the prohibition are restaurants or hotels within 1.5 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. (There just happens to be a Balsam Mountain Inn up there.) Since sports clubs qualify, some people have put up tennis courts and charged membership fees. The owners need only keep a file of memberships to satisfy ABC inspectors that those consuming on premises indeed belong to the club. For facilities that don’t want to become clubs, brown bagging permits and Special ABC Area designations are available. An end may be in sight for the “spot permitting” if voters pass a referendum, a concept being kicked around by some county commissioners.Read full article » No Comments »
Reaching a stalemate, the Macon County Planning Board tabled consideration of a steep slopes ordinance. This happened in a county with, “a number of poorly designed and built roads that have simply washed away or fallen off mountainsides in recent years.”Read full article » No Comments »
The Haywood Correctional Center will close. The state mandated the closure of four prisons in a cost-saving measure. The only prison protected from consideration was the Bladen County facility. The exemption is described as the reward for a senator who crossed party lines to approve the budget. The closings are expected to cut 203 positions and save the state $10.7 annually. The state is trying to transfer most people being laid off to other state positions. If they cannot get a job in the private sector, they can go on the dole.
New state laws require counties to house misdemeanants. The state will pay $40/day for their incarceration. With correctional officers making conservatively $30,000 plus benefits a year in North Carolina, how much will the state really save?Read full article » No Comments »
The Citizen-Times would like you to get your cry-baby on to fight the expiration of the federal gas tax. If it happens, the state will have to lay off lots of road workers (not administrators), stop paving perfectly good roads, quit using the highway fund as a slush fund, hold off on turning the I-26 connector into a walkable signature gateway, and delay plans to bring passenger rail to Asheville.Read full article » No Comments »