Corporate monsters gobbling up local businesses like the Pac Man monsters was easy to understand when the K-Mart, Wal Mart, and Home Depots ran the neighborhood hardware and local clothing stores out of business. When the cities and states created “economic development” departments and urban renewal agencies the equation became cloudier, but no less devastating.
Such is the case with a local payroll processing firm which has won a unanimous Idaho Supreme Court decision allowing it to sue the State of Idaho over so-called “tax incentives” which are nothing more than corporate welfare. Employers Resource Management Co. of Boise sued in 2016 after Idaho Dept. of Commerce officials gave a tax incentive to Paylocity, an Illinois company and competitor establishing a new office in Meridian.
The GUARDIAN is particularly concerned that two of the Republican candidates for Governor are involved in the detrimental deals. Tommy Ahlquist and his Gardner development firm will own the five-story Paylocity building in Meridian, but NO TAX REVENUES on the building will go to Meridian, Ada County, ACHD, or West Ada Schools. The taxes will go toward even more urban renewal for the next 20 years.
The City of Meridian put frosting on the welfare cake by making an urban renewal district out of a farm field at Ten Mile and I-84. Meanwhile 500 more workers with cars, and children which will demand schools, sewers, roads, police, and fire services will be subsidized by existing property owners.
Ahlquist’s opponent for the Guv job is Lt. Guv. Brad Little who is proud to take credit for working to recruit Paylocity and has noted that urban renewal laws are a benefit to recruiting new businesses.
The local news and city election in Boise has been dominated by a massive effort of Mayor Dave Bieter and his Team Dave to subsidize a commercial real estate developer with construction of a baseball-soccer sports stadium.
Amid cries of “growth is inevitable,” and “if you aren’t growing, you’re dying,” local property owners are victims of having their taxes diverted to urban renewal and business owners are faced with unfair competition by out of state firms receiving those “incentives,” at the expense of Idaho taxpayers.
Contrary to claims of politicos, growth does NOT pay for itself. Greedy local governments bend over backwards to stimulate growth at the expense of school districts and other local governments forced to build sewers, schools, highways, and expand police and fire departments.
The GUARDIAN growthophobe position remains the same: If a business wishes to come to our fair state, pay a fair wage and the same taxes paid by the rest of us, welcome aboard! If the business is looking for a handout and other “incentives,” look elsewhere.
For a really entertaining explanation see JOHN OLIVER.
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