Paying the house: when “economic development” goes bad

When you go to gamble, there is always one winner- the house.

For your opportunity to wager your bets and win or loose, the house always wins.

Except in the “house” of modern day “economic development” where government corporate welfare gives all kinds of deals and breaks, without any true guarantee of, well- anything.

Sure we can talk about “job creation”- the new holy grail to politico’s justification for these handouts- but at what cost long term? Sure, Wilmington turned from a sleepy little town with a big airfield and international business- with a lot of help from Government, but, now, it’s about to turn into a ghost town, with a giant sucking sound as jobs, business and tax base runs to Louisville. FedEx is not going to come into Wilmington and save the day.

So, when we look at the Moraine Assembly plant, which has held local governments hostage over the years with threats of leaving if not given the many tax breaks over the years, as an “asset” to our community as long as it’s still producing trucks- what happens when it stops? From today’s Dayton Daily News:

Vacant sites full of potential
In the case of the GM’s sprawling Stroop Road facility, it likely wouldn’t get another chance as an automotive factory, since the industry has ample production capacity, said Doug Harnish, president of Gem Public Sector Services, a research and brokerage firm.

And, even if another automaker wanted to set up shop in Moraine, GM probably will not want to lease or sell property to a competitor, Harnish said.

And here’s the catch- GM is telling the house, sorry, now that our luck has panned out, we don’t have to pay you anymore, even though you kept giving us credit to play based on our good word.

Not good enough.

If a company has to plead poverty in order to operate, and asks the house of the people for funding, the house should have every opportunity to collect back it’s markers- in the way of having the option for a competitor to step in and take over. Just because the highly paid gambler in charge, oops, I mean CEO, of GM had no foresight to cover his bets on SUV’s with small, energy efficient cars doesn’t mean he gets to walk off with his fat paycheck, while our community takes it on the chin.

You accept public money, you accept a responsibility back to the public investor. That should be the new rule. No one plays with our tax dollars for free anymore.


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