The fallacy of Eds, Meds and Feds saving our city.

Sometimes all it takes is a cute turn of a word and people believe. Remember the “Death Tax” or the “Contract with America” or the “Patriot Act”- we’ve heard them all.

Now, and props go to whoever conjured up this latest phrase, we hear “Oh don’t worry, we’ve got Eds, Meds and Feds here in Dayton” – we don’t need no stinkin manufacturing or tech jobs.

But, last I checked, none of those three pay property taxes. Not a dime. Exempt.

Now, I understand why the Feds don’t. They have a city unto themselves. We can’t get in without good reason or a golden ticket. They have their own  police, fire, road crews etc. They also employ a lot of people, some of whom don’t get a choice of where they get to go.

Higher education- is a true non-profit. They make our social capital grow. They bring in good jobs, and they prepare people for good jobs. OK, no problem.

Hospitals though, well there I have a problem. The “Non-profit” status they enjoy seems to be getting abused. All of a sudden hospitals are buying up tons of land, taking it off the tax rolls, and not doing anything with it. Or, they are growing like weeds- and into things that have very little to do with providing health care. And, by the way- that health care keeps getting more and more expensive for the rest of us- while they keep paying their executives more and more. While they say they provide an essential public service in ministering to the uninsured, I’m not sure $435 per stitch is going to cut it anymore.

In fact, I’d place a bet if we started charging hospitals property tax, we could afford to hire our own hospital staff and provide universal care to residents for less. And, considering that police and fire provide essential public services, maybe they shouldn’t have to pay for health care- the hospitals should pick up the tab as part of their civic duty?

Nope, Eds, Meds and Feds sounds great- until you realize that without the other businesses paying property taxes, we’ll be struggling for a while, until we work on streamlining our hodge-podge of governments into one simple, efficient system that manages the region.

Then, we might even start looking attractive to other employers. Hmmmm….

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

23 Responses

  1. Gary Leitzell August 18, 2009 / 11:08 pm
    A question you could ask is “Does the doctor who has a practice in the suburbs pay income tax to the city for operations performed at Miami Valley Hospital?” or any city located hospital for that matter. Targeting a hospital will only drive them away. They provide a venue for tax paying doctors to perform their services. I would ask the same of lawyers who try their cases in the court houses downtown but have a practice in the suburbs. Don’t know how you would track it but a regional form of government would solve some of the the problem.
    Just a thought.
  2. David Esrati August 18, 2009 / 11:15 pm

    @Gary- income taxes and property taxes are two very different things.

    Our crazy mess of different local income taxes just makes things more complicated than they need to be.

  3. Teri Lussier August 19, 2009 / 8:10 am
    Hi David-
     
    We need jobs. We need jobs. Boy-oh-boy do we need jobs.
     
    However, Feds, meds, and eds do provide something- warm bodies. Warm bodies that are in Dayton, living, eating, purchasing goods and services (jobs). Bodies that carry around brains that have ideas for tech and manufacturing businesses (jobs) that could very possibly stay in Dayton. Brains that have the ability to share plans and money (jobs) that stay in Dayton.
     
    I suggest we court the people who are here, make life better for those of us who are here, focus on better right now with the people who are here right now, some of them we know will scatter to the winds to spread the good word about Dayton.
     
    Oh, and, I’ve been twittering about this for some time- biofuels. We are in the middle of ag country. Why aren’t we courting, educating, pushing the use of algae? Rivers. Water. Pond scum is a resource. It could mean the creation of jobs with the added bonus that biofuels are sexy. Dayton could use a bit of both right now. Job creation and a regional marketing problem solved with one fell swoop.
     
    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. :-)
     
  4. truddick August 19, 2009 / 8:51 am
    I’m impressed at how easily we compartmentalize ourselves into a false perception.
    Corporations IN GENERAL don’t pay taxes.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1249465620080812
    In Dayton, corporations get a 75% cut in property taxes just for asking.  If every business paid taxes as assessed, with no loopholes, exemptions, deductions, or sweetheart direct incentives, then our schools would be fully funded for once and the average homeowner would get some relief.
  5. truddick August 19, 2009 / 8:57 am
    Teri: I appreciate that biofuels will be an important part of our energy mix in the future.  But one thing to consider: any energy source that involves combustion will generate carbon dioxide.  If the world keeps relying on combustion for so much of its energy, our oceans will continue to acidify (the acidity of our oceans has increased by 50% in less than a century) and our climate will continue to heat up in general.
    It should be understood that we will continue to need to use combustibles with a high energy ratio to power certain types of machinery; no matter how good our battery technology and solar cells become, they’ll never have the “oomph” to run a bulldozer.  So biofuels certainly need to be pursued.  I like the idea of using algae rather than corn; as you point out it’s possible to grow a lot of it fast and it doesn’t take food off our tables.
    But I’m more intrigued by the prospect of cheap hydrogen, which produces no CO2:
    http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f81/purdue-university-engineers-develop-cost-competitive-hydrogen-demand-system-61083/
  6. Teri Lussier August 19, 2009 / 9:43 am
    >it doesn’t take food off our tables.
     
    Ethanol does not have to take food off our tables. Oil companies have done a great job of bad PR for ethanol production, and while there are problems with ethanol as it stands right now, if you read through this article, you’ll see there are so many opportunities for R&D in ethanol production alone, then you add to this algae biofuels and all the possibilities there, and Dayton is sitting on gold. And David, now we are back to the “Eds” part of the holy trinity.  http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm
     
    >then our schools would be fully funded for once and the average homeowner would get some relief.
     
    We have to find an alternative way to fund schools. We have to. And that would give us the added bonus of being truly innovative, and another way to make Dayton more attractive to families. Didn’t we hire Mr. Strickland to do this?
     
     
     
     
  7. David Esrati August 19, 2009 / 9:48 am

    @Truddick: The article on taxes is about income taxes- not property taxes. Although, you are right, locally- it’s really easy to get a tax break for making promises of more jobs.

    @Teri- yes we need jobs, but we shouldn’t be buying them- we should be earning them. Part of that means running a community in a way that businesses want to come here. It’s called smart/good government- something we haven’t had here in quite some time. Instead, we cut deals in back rooms- away from public scrutiny, to the benefit of a wealthy few at a cost to all of us.

    As to “biofuels”- I don’t believe it’s a local government’s job to gamble on new technology- the feds can do that with SBIR contracts – research grants. Locally- our money needs to focus on public service. If our government was so good at investing- they should work on Wall Street- not Main Street.

  8. Robert Vigh August 19, 2009 / 2:41 pm
    I think that you all scare me.

    #1) The government should not touch biofuels, it should develop in the market. Entering the government into the industry will distort the profit motive and make them less efficient when they do come around.
    #2) Do you know why hospitals are so expensive? Do you know why it costs $435.00 a stitch? Take a look at Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs that hospitals lose .30 on every dollar and then ask how do they stay profitable. Tax hospitals, are you serious? Tax them and what, give money to algae farmers? Furthermore, that price is driven up because no one pays their own way! It is always on the governments or the insurance’s dime and they pay absolutely no attention.
    #3) Do you know why companies get tax breaks? Cause other cities give them, They would not move their business to Dayton if they were charged the full rate. This point seems to be wildly not noticed.
    #4) Fully fund schools? 20% drop out rate, 60% drop out rate in big cities (including Columbus). Public funding of schools should be abolished. They are a waste of resources and private school markets would trounce the crap out of our public system.
    #5) What is your hang up with the Rich?
    #6) “Locally- our money needs to focus on public service.” — David, I have been hanging around your site and reading the articles and I have enjoyed many of them. But, seriously, this sounds socialist and economically unsound.

  9. Teri Lussier August 19, 2009 / 2:41 pm
    >If our government was so good at investing- they should work on Wall Street- not Main Street.
     
    Ah. A free-market capitalist. ;-)
     
    I agree. I was referring to Dayton as We the People, to whom the city belongs. Not the government of Dayton, whom we hire to take care of a few minor details and stay out of our way.
  10. David Esrati August 19, 2009 / 3:02 pm

    @Robert- I’ve called for a national ban on “economic development incentives” by government to private business.

    Blaming medicare for the crazy costs is as stupid as blaming lawyers. The reality is our system is broken beyond repair. Name any other business where you buy a service and never get a quote first.

    Getting rid of public schools is the most @$$inine thing I’ve heard- come live in my neighborhood. Some people aren’t qualified to raise themselves- never mind make educational decisions for their kids.

    And- I have no problems with the rich- I have problems with people who suck society dry- like the CEO of UHC who paid himself $144 Million in one year- when my rates went up 40%.

     

  11. Gene August 19, 2009 / 3:31 pm
    “I’ve called for a national ban on “economic development incentives” by government to private business.”

    Who cares? Who listens to you but like 10-30 of us, and a lot of us don’t agree with you? Huge ego there David. – “I’VE CALLED FOR……” as if you have any power. You are not in public office yet. Get there and change what you can, but calling for something like this is not in your power. Seriously, who talks like that?

    Why don’t I call for something? Oh, it is bc I am grounded and know my place.

    Why does Oakwood spend less per kid than the City of Dayton? Oakwood has better results. Why? PARENTS. Can we spell that everyone. Throwing money at losers and people that have their hands held out only continues that behavior. I call for giant ships to be loaded with the loser urban dwellers to go off to sea and save our productive population from having to finance their drug problems, their food, their housing and their kids schools.

    When you are on the city commission, call for things you can change.

  12. Robert Vigh August 19, 2009 / 3:46 pm
    Point 1, I agree.

    Point 2, I have a logical and economic foundation for pointing out that social programs that cannot pay for themselves, inherently must cost all of us more. Furthermore, no other business is set up for the consumer to not have a care in the world what the cost is. Pay for it out of pocket and you will see people asking for quotes. You have no logical foundation for your retort, I do. Broken beyond repair? There are ways to fix it, we just cant get people out of magic la la land long enough to understand economics.

    Point 3, It is a new idea for you to digest, so I will give some leniency. But, I have statistics of public schoolings failure and you have a “wish” that they would work. What kind of statistics do you utilize to say I have no foundation? Private schools educate children for less than public schools and do a better job at it.

    Point 4, Who cares how much he made. You make that your focus so you can feel the big bad world did you wrong. You dont like it, switch companies. Oh wait, the other companies raised your rates 60%? Or how about you go without insurance, it is not required to live. Did you know you had that option? …………You wont soon.

    You speak in platitudes and not real solutions.

  13. Gene August 19, 2009 / 4:10 pm
    Simply put, liberals want the rich to pay for the poor. Liberals want to triple taxes so uneducated people can be……. well, still uneducated.

    You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t……. well, you can, it just tastes like sh*t.

    Liberals complain often yet never have any real solutions. It is just tax, tax, tax. Taxing the productive keeps this world divided. Not the other way around.

  14. Jeff August 19, 2009 / 5:48 pm
    Hey Esrati, did you read the paper today?  Bryan Bucklew of the Dayton Hospital Association says our local hospitals oppose health care reform (he said they oppose all the plans before Congress), speaking at a Tea Party town hall……..so there you have it.  Oppose health care reform and watch our medical sector grow.  It’s just a parasitic as defense spending subsidizing the local economy.  I’m all for “Eds”, so young folks can be educated enough so they’ll be competetive when they leave this dreary shithole.
  15. David Esrati August 19, 2009 / 8:35 pm

    @Robert- no, you can’t live without health insurance- because you can’t afford health care if you don’t have an insurer. Rates are DRASTICALLY different for insured vs uninsured.

    as to education- it’s not just a dollars and cents thing. I’m not going to go ’round and ’round with anyone on this- but, public education is one of the best investments we can all make.

    @Jeff- Yep- I saw Bucklew (who is a democrat) backing the boys who pay him today. I’ve got lunch with him in a week- I’ll make for an interesting discussion.

  16. Tim Bailey August 20, 2009 / 9:52 am
    Just wanted to make an observation.
    It is being bantered about that taxing hospitals is a good idea and raising corporate taxes is also a good idea. It makes me curious – this idea of taxing an entity that is not able to pay anything is interesting.
    I hope that someone can clear it up for me.
    You ask, “What do you mean?” Please allow me to explain: When I was working in the food and beverage industry a couple years ago and the tax rate rose on certain items, our solution was to raise the prices of our offerings to pay the applicable taxes. So…(are you all following me here?) it was most certainly NOT the limited liability corporation paying the taxes (Sure, the corporation’s name was on the check to the Dept. of Taxation.) but it was our customers paying the taxes.
    Similarly, a burdensome tax was recently levied on tobacco products. Was it the evil tobacco companies that are paying the tax? Drumroll…………….NO. It was the citizens of this country who make the choice to purchase tobacco products – because using our hard earned money to pay for health care for some indigent children seems like a good punishment. Again, taxes can be levied on certain groups, companies, organizations, corporations, property, and any other entity; however, taxes can only be paid by individuals.
    If I am wrong on this observation, please do let me know.
    As I digress briefly into the topic of health care, I ask:
    How much do you think the cost of a stitch will go up if we levy taxes on these institutions?
    And are you really suggesting not paying executive leadership of the hospitals what they are worth and taxing them (the hospitals) at such a high rate so we (the citizens or government) can open a free hospital and give police and firefighters free health care and call all of that the current hospitals’ ‘civic duty’? I really hope that that suggestion was an attempt at absurd humor.
     
     
     
  17. Robert Vigh August 20, 2009 / 9:53 am
    Living without insurance is easy. I have a $5k deductible and my insurance is cheap. (Yes, I shopped it diligently) Furthermore, when I need something done I call around and ask for rates. My family Dr. and I reached an agreement. I pay cash, no paperwork hassles, he charges me $60.00. I have another that I see for $45.00. I am only insured against catastrophic, and I am thinking that I might drop that and just invest my money. I dont particularly find a need for insurance. I do have a need to be fiscally responsible and set aside money every year for that expense and future expense. Lawmakers find ways to punish me for that year in and year out.

    -No comment on Ed per the not wanting to round around.

    I was at the meeting that Bucklew spoke. He was very clear and made some very good points. He gave alot of cost analysis and laid out why this type of program could be very troublesome for the Dayton region. He did not tout any philosophic or political rhetoric, just stuck to facts.

  18. David Esrati August 20, 2009 / 10:05 am

    @Tim- Welcome.

    Sure, you can make the argument that taxes are just passed along. But, that can be said of EVERYTHING. Somehow, we have to pay for government- it’s just a question of what kind of government we get.

    @Robert- a friend just had a double mastectomy. 3 days. $88K, chemo will be $10K per treatment- did you know there is a lifetime maximum on health care benefits? I can guarantee it’s a lot lower than what the CEO of UHC paid himself for one years work.

    We can do better.

    I get my medical care at the VA. Yes, I still have private insurance. And, the quality of care is BETTER than I got out of the private system.

  19. David Lauri August 20, 2009 / 2:21 pm
    Robert, you may be able to negotiate rates with your family doctor, but can you negotiate with Premier Health Partners should you ever need radiology or anesthesia or blood work done?
     
    I had surgery in 2008 and on my one of the Explanation of Benefits I received from Anthem (which wasn’t very explanatory, as it just listed a line item “Medical Services” from “Miami Valley Hospital” the provider charged $3,487 and the amount Anthem allowed for that was only $1,398.29, a discount of 60%.
     
    My surgery was not emergency surgery, so, had I not had insurance, I suppose I could have negotiated with Premier Health Partners and asked for a 60% discount.  Perhaps.  But what if it had been emergency surgery?  Kinda hard to negotiate for a discount after the fact.
     
    Now just why would Premier Health Partners accept $1,398.29 from Anthem for something they otherwise would bill at $3,487?  Cause they love Anthem so much they’re willing to take a loss?  Hardly.  It’s cause their cost really was less than $1,398.29.
     
    This is why we need insurance.  The same reason unions have been necessary in our nation’s history to improve working conditions.  Because collective bargaining is a helluva lot more powerful than each person for himself or herself.
  20. Gene August 20, 2009 / 2:27 pm
    Unions improved working conditions, and destroyed the US makers as well. With the good you get the bad.

    We need a plan the covers all. And everyone must pay. Businesses should not pay a cent, it should be taken out of our pay checks, a certain amount rather than a percent across the board. Get rid of all health insurance. Insurance is a scam.

  21. SheliaO August 20, 2009 / 9:41 pm
    I cannot believe I am saying this, but I agree with Gene – Insurance is a HUGE scam.  The business of getting paid to do absolutely nothing.
    I do have insurance, but as I will be laid off 8/28/09 that will be falling to the way side.  With my medical history I will not be able to get insurance individually at a decent rate.  And as far as having an account to save – I do have an HSA.  That only goes so far though, no matter what you negotiate.  Once I lose my job I will not be able to afford to put more into the HSA.  Lose-lose situation for out of work people with no income and no insurance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *