Friday, April 17, 2015

Accoutrements of Success. . .

Today's OD presents another example of the "build it and they will come" fairy tale: Expansion of high speed Internet can help region stay competitive.
“Access to high-speed Internet is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers can reach their full potential in today’s technology-driven world,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. . . . 
Internet providers are being offered matching funds if they opt to expand into areas with no service, or improve service in places that already have it. Providers often are reluctant to extend service into sparsely populated areas because there might not be enough customers to recoup costs.
The problem with the OD's headline is that it assumes that we are already competitive. With among the highest sales tax rates in the nation, highest property tax rates in the nation as a percentage of property value, highest utility rates, highway tolls, and onerous regulations that have driven literally tens of thousands of people and countless businesses from our region in the last 40 years, can anyone seriously argue that we are competitive?  

Economically competitive areas DO have high speed internet  . . . they also have bustling airports with regularly scheduled airline service . . .  symphony orchestras . . . museums, libraries, theaters, zoos,  etc., etc.  -- because they are economically successful -- not because the taxpayers paid for them.

We once had all these things, and still have some of these things, because we were once economically successful.  But that is the past.  And slowly but surely, as the "old money" gets spent, we are losing these accoutrements of success -- and not obtaining new ones -- because we are no longer successful.

Repeat: "Providers often are reluctant to extend service into sparsely populated areas because there might not be enough customers to recoup costs."

The OD speaks of internet providers, but it is the same for water lines, sewers, roads, airports, and virtually any other service that you can think of.  If the costs cannot be recouped, why should the taxpayer (or water/sewer/utility user) be forced pick up the costs for those it is uneconomical (or "unsustainable") to serve?   That would require higher taxes and fees . . .

And That would make us LESS competitive. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You don't really expect the OD or any other local media outlet to grasp your point, do you? At least one half of what one reads or hears in the local media arena is wrong or incomplete. And, there is never any follow up. There is little wonder why the area is as depressed as it is. Keep up the good fight but your blog is truly swimming uphill.