The big problem is we’re getting smaller.

Population loss isn’t the same as weight loss. Putting people back in your community isn’t easy. And, believe it or not- just like love- you can’t buy them either.

This is our fundamental problem in Dayton (the big D- not just the city proper). Since our politicians are so focused on income (both the tax kind and the political donation kind)- they fail to understand that everything they do must be evaluated by what is right for the “Greater Good.”

Using “The Greene” as an example- how did the $15+ million in incentives that Greene County and Beavercreek forked over work out? Sure, they got a bump in jobs- that pay income tax, and there are more property taxes coming in thanks to the improvements, and last but not least- sales tax collections went up. Great, fantastic, amazing.

Until you realize that since the population hasn’t grown one iota in the area in the last 10 years, what we just did was subsidize one developer while leaving the last one (that would be the Mall at Fairfield Commons) with less. Now, we’re just talking about the big boys here. Let’s look at what this does to the small fry.

We’ve had many local independent restaurants close up shop. We’ve had higher vacancy rates in other retail locations. Kettering has had to stretch it’s police and fire to deal with problems that it didn’t have before, and Dayton has lost some more office tenants to the new buildings (Robbins & Meyers HQ for one).

This is an example of government redistributing wealth- instead of building it. We need more people in the region, we need more interest in the creation of jobs, not the moving of them. We need to find a competitive advantage and maximize it, or we’ll just continue rearranging deck chairs on a ship that’s not just sinking- it’s shrinking at the same time.

Sportsplex is a big idea. Cheap, bountiful water is a big advantage. Low cost of doing business is a draw. Walkable communities are a big plus as gas prices rise. Simplified business requirements makes things easier to start and run a business. Fair tax systems (and not the “Fair Tax” plan) help keep things moving (subsidizing the Cheesecake factory while ignoring Dominics etc.).

Somehow, we have to start evaluating every tax expenditure based on the idea of what will it do to make the area so attractive to business and people so that they won’t want tax breaks- but will be thinking they are getting a great deal?

Why would people want to live in LA and fight traffic, live in NYC and pay crazy rent for a closet to live in, when they could be in Dayton? Figure that out, focus on it, and before long- you won’t be handing out money with every building permit- and we’ll be getting real net growth, not redistributed wealth.

Thoughts?

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