The bond vote in New Hartford passed last week 432 to 362. (It's taken this long to bring myself to write about this, it is such a disappointment.) If all goes according to plan, payments in lieu of taxes that this project would generate will be used to pay off the bonds that the Town is issuing for improvements at the New Hartford Business Park.
That's sort of like you being able to direct your property taxes into improvement of your own property, isn't it?
Of course, this project will need police and fire protection, road maintenance, and will receive all the other "services" that residents of the Town receive such as assessment services, Town Court services, Town Clerk services, library access, etc., etc. . . . . and you know who will be paying the developer's share of those since his will be going into his road improvements.
Anyway, this is allegedly promoting "growth" and/or "economic development" so that may be why people voted for it.
I caught Michael Hennessey (Minority Leader on the OC Legislature) talking on WIBX' "First Look" show this morning . . . He was looking for funding to extend water and sewer services into rural areas to promote "growth." SIGH! More of the same mentality . . .
People and businesses will not move into the region because someone will subsidize a water or sewer line. They will move here only if the economic climate is such that their businesses will be sustainable . . . For most, we know that our climate is not that way because people are leaving . . . Other parts of the country have significantly lower business costs because taxation is less.
Extending water and sewer lines, or roads, may foster some new construction (because the developer is passing part of the cost to taxpayers) but it is not "growth" . . . it is just sprawl . . . people and businesses simply trading their old places for new ones . . . and somewhere along the line something gets left vacant. Meanwhile, we've just extended the public infrastructure that we must maintain . . . requiring more taxes and fees that drive more businesses away.
. . . AND NOW the whole country seems to be going our way with the "stimulus" package.
A kind reader directed me to this article: The Stimulus will lead America in the direction of Western New York . Essentially Western NY was way "ahead" of the curve in taxpayer-financed economic "stimulus" -- but the poorly thought out projects only made things worse. While occasionally a government project will result in an economic transformation -- like the Erie Canal -- that is the exception rather than the rule. Most taxpayer financed schemes only dig a bigger hole for us to get out of. When this region was in its heyday, it was the product of private enterprize, not government subsidy.
We need to focus on creating a climate where enterprise can grow . . . and forget the "quick fix."