Let’s raise the cost of doing business to keep business here: idiot logic

It’s bad enough that Ohio has a system of jurisdictions set up in the 1790s that makes so many tax districts and levying organizations that all require overhead- making Ohio an expensive place to live and work. Just look at how many “Mayors” the area known to the world as Dayton  has- and then how many police chiefs and sheriffs, fire chiefs and zoning administrators and councils, and street maintenance…. you get the picture. Taxpayers don’t care who shows up when you call a cop- as long as they do their job. On top of that- we have a playing field that is as unlevel as they come- hence all the “development” (or moving of businesses in the giant shell game) to places without an income tax- Beavercreek, Miami Township (Austin Road) etc. We’re really good at moving our problems around and causing new ones- because we can’t address the old ones.

Now, the titans of talk at the Dayton Development Coalition are suggesting that both the taxpayer and local “member businesses” contribute more money to them so they can hand out “incentives” to retain other businesses. Sure, I go to work everyday to make money to hand over to an overpaid, slick-talking suit so he can take a scrape and hand it over to his new best friend- the company claiming it is leaving.

THIS MAKES ZERO SENSE.

Here’s a bit of  the article from the Dayton Daily News- which moved its print facility out of the county and its offices outside the SID downtown:

The Dayton Development Coalition seeks to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in additional support from member businesses and local governments to try harder to make sure that the biggest local companies stay and expand here.

A memo drafted as a strategy document for leadership of the public-private coalition states that the region’s business leaders believe “there are gaps and inefficiencies” in current retention and expansion efforts aimed at companies already here, and that the coalition has been asked to take an expanded role.

“Specifically, the large anchor companies are not being addressed in the manner needed,” according to a two-page memo prepared for the coalition’s retention and expansion ad-hoc committee.

via Coalition wants new effort aimed at keeping big companies in region.

Of course, this makes perfect sense, since the head of the DDC makes over double what the City Manager for Dayton makes and at least a third more than the County Administrator (both of whom oversee budgets and organizations that dwarf the DDC in size and importance to the community- with some level of accountability to the public). This is how we make sure that crony capitalism or corporate welfare (depending on which term you prefer) continues to screw things up in Dayton. If you need reminding on the kind of track record these kind of “investments” by government work out- look at UltraCell (and boy do I have more coming on that mess).

Of course, the DDC will say that it is better than some poor civil servant slob who may only be able to make $100k a year and has his or her hands tied by stupid laws (that were put in place to prevent this kind of government meddling in business)- and whom government should thank for taking over these positions and saving the taxpayers money by removing the duplication of effort. It all sounds great- until you realize that their is no voter oversight on this organization- nor are they held accountable for their actions. How would you feel if you made widgets, were a paying member of the DDC, a good citizen- and then find out your “dues” are being handed over to your widget competitor across the street?

If any of this sounds like the way the Mafia works to you, it’s because it’s a similar business model based on fear. If we don’t play the game that all these other communities are doing across the country- our businesses will flee for the better deal as NCR did. However, the real secret to attracting and retaining business is to do the opposite- regionalize, simplify taxes and regulation, improve customer service, invest the money in PUBLIC amenities (that’s what public dollars are supposed to be for) and throw these mobsters in the river with some concrete boots. We don’t need to keep subsidizing more government and quasi-government, we need to deliver more bang for our buck to the businesses and taxpayers who are already here- and tell our story to the world.

“How Dayton decided to stick to the knitting- and get out of the “economic development” business- and created the greatest city to do business in….”

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7 Responses

  1. joe_mamma August 20, 2010 / 7:56 am
    Exactamundo David!!!  Centralized picking of winners is good only for those doing the picking and those being picked.  Competition suffers and so does the consumer.
     
  2. conspiracy August 20, 2010 / 9:26 am
    Where does it say that they will be handing monies raised to support this new initiative over to companies in the form of incentives? Oh wait, it doesn’t. Talk about fear? You create this fear filled melodrama that is your world and truly think people are out to screw you; and all of us. Then you sell your “story and ideas” to others in the hopes to raise readership and ultimately solicit these people for campaign contributions. Now that I think about it, I’d like to know what happens to all of your campaign contributions. Is every dollar accounted for? I know you don’t raise a lot of money, but I’d sure like to know what you did with ALL of it. Please post those documents and your tax returns for all of the years that you have been trying to run for office and do so by COB today. If you fail to do so, then you are as bad as the rest of them, and gulity of funneling money to Lori Turner in some sort of weird election triangle.

    Btw, I agree regionalism is the way to go, but that isn’t something that happens overnight.

  3. David Esrati August 20, 2010 / 9:43 am

    @Conspiracy- I’ve accounted for every dollar as required by law. I’ve only had a few $500 donations (3- over the course of all the elections).

    My average donation has been less than $50.

    I’ve even posted my opponents documents- since the BOE doesn’t.

    Read the article- they are asking for more money. And- the only tool in the retention box so far has been either handouts or tax breaks- both of which are capricious and at the whim of those with the checkbook.

    It’s time tax dollars went to public projects only. And- to reform campaign finance- have the campaigns paid out of tax dollars instead. Look at the ticker on the sidebar- this election cycle-  $2.9 billion and counting- wasted on running an auction for office.

  4. Conspiracy August 23, 2010 / 1:24 pm
    @Esrati—I don’t care about what is required by law, I want all of the documents I requested. Again, if you don’t comply with my ridiculous demands, you are guilty of crimes you most likely didn’t commit. (Pretty crappy reasoning isn’t it?) You try and hold these people to a moral code that you yourself don’t follow. Seriously, hop down off that horse of yours and either put up or shut up. I’m not just talking about campaign finance either, because I think all would agree that the system is flawed. (To understate the obvious of course) I have to go back to the assumptions you make about your “enemies” in general. In this particular instance you are assuming that the Dayton Coalition is going to hand out money in the form of incentives and tax breaks.
    “Read the article- they are asking for more money. And- the only tool in the retention box so far has been either handouts or tax breaks- both of which are capricious and at the whim of those with the checkbook.”
    I did read the article and honestly, I have a lot of problems with this statement. First off, you are assuming you know what you are talking about—which you CLEARLY don’t. There are A LOT more tools in the toolbox then “handouts or tax breaks.” Just because you don’t know about them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There are training programs, outreach programs, personal visits, bricks and mortar, etc. Not everyone has time to blog about what is wrong with the Region, some actually get off their rear ends and do something about it.
    Grammatically speaking your post is a mess, which reinforces my thoughts that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. When you say the “only TOOL in the retention box so far has been either handouts or tax breaks…” you are contradicting yourself. “Only tool” indicates there is ONE tool as TOOL is singular. Whereas, handouts or tax breaks are TWO tools; plural. You see my concern here? There is one OTHER possibility here, and that is you DO know what you’re talking about and you are ignoring the facts as you know them. You ARE aware of nationally award winning programs like “Business First” and you also KNOW that it takes people to do tasks like retention calls etc. The point I’m making is, you KNOW the truth, but the truth doesn’t fit into your paradigm of you against the world. If you spent HALF of the time volunteering at the United Way, Daybreak, or some other worthy non-profit, than you do throwing stones, the Region would be much better off. Oh, and embrace brevity, capricious and at the whim, mean the same thing. No reason to say the same thing twice, unless of course you meant to say;
    “Handouts are capricious and tax breaks are at the whim of those with the checkbook. Having gone through the process once before, tax breaks aren’t at the whim of ANYONE. In fact, there is so much red tape involved, I almost went without.
    Your second to last point seems to contradict your whole argument. I would think that keeping and growing the tax base in the Region is the epitome of a public project, ESPECIALLY in an ideal world, they would not only stay here, (retention) but they would grow here. (expansion) If we are successful in these efforts, then we will have money for OTHER public projects, like development on the river, bike sharing, etc.
    I read somewhere once that, “You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution.” You sir, are part of the problem, but you don’t have to be.
  5. Jeff of Dayton August 23, 2010 / 4:50 pm
    Pretty big pushback on this issue, at the DDN comments section and on this blog from “Conspiracy”.
     
    The issue I see is this statement:

    “Specifically, the large anchor companies are not being addressed in the manner needed,” according to a two-page memo prepared for the coalition’s retention and expansion ad-hoc committee.”

    and this one:

    “The firms aren’t identified by name but would be in four key growth areas the coalition has identified: aerospace research and development, information technology, advanced materials and manufacturing, and human sciences and health care.”

    For one thing there are no large anchor companies left in the Dayton area since the mass-employment manufactuing firms (GM, Delphi) are gone (depending on how you define “large”), as have the larger corporate HQs.

    The cluster of targeted growth sectors mentioned probably have only a handful of large firms, mostly in the IT arena, that are potentially footloose (Lexis/Nexis, Reynolds & Reynolds, and perhaps others).  Health Care has become the large employment sector, true, but the large anchor firms in this sector are hospitals, which are not going anywhere.  Aerospace isn’t going anywhere either, since the firms here are here because of Wright-Patterson AFB.  And if they are IT contractors there is a statutory requirement that they be here. 

    As far as I know, despite the money being spent on tech transfer, no large cluster of advanced materials firms has surfaced here.  Can anyone give an aggregate employment figure for “advanced material manufacturing” in the Dayton metro area?  If not, there is an issue with metrics on the effectivness of an industrial policy.

    The DDC is asking for money for…what exactley?  I don’t disagree that the entire local approach to economic development needs to be rethought (this was clearly  indentified by a consultant’s study a year or two ago),  but this is sort of a “give us money” request without specfics and examples of how it would be used, during a time of economic exigency,  is going to be questioned, as it should. 

  6. David Esrati August 23, 2010 / 4:53 pm

    @Conspiracy- I’ve already posted the campaign finance reports- mine and others: http://esrati.com/?s=campaign+finance+reports

    Go look.

    I’m sorry about my grammar- I write these posts in under 30 minutes each, and don’t proof them for grammar usually. You want to pay for an editor- you can expect better.

    I’d rather pay a county administrator $300K+ and hold them responsible for the entire region, than pay all these fiefdom chiefs less.

    Last bit- I have little respect for those that call people names without signing theirs- or using a valid e-mail address.

    As to the tax breaks- and red tape- let’s see how the Ultracell deal ends.

  7. joe_mamma August 24, 2010 / 8:09 am
    @conspiracy…hate to burst your grammatical expertise bubble.  But “handouts” and “tax breaks” are technically the same thing in the end…which is giving an unfair financial advantage to the recipients.   And ” training programs, outreach programs, personal visits, bricks and mortar, etc” pretty much fall in the same category.
     
     
     
    This is just my opinion, but when someone starts grammatically correct people on an informal blog it’s tedious.  Any valid point about the actual subject being discussed gets lost.
     
     
     

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