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How could you possibly have gotten so cynical without even mentioning light rail and renewable energy?

Greg,

Your best post ever!

OMG, Greg, I'm laughing out loud at this post-although it's so true I should be crying at all this sad news of the pattern of poor decisions our leaders have made when spending public money for what private enterprise should be doing. Although I will admit, in spite of my desire for lower taxes, I like the new Phoenix owned hotel! Agree with "Name"-the only thing missing is the light rail and renewable energy!

i dont understand your point on city north. not that i know much about that issue but the way i understand it phoenix invested no money in that. they were going to rebate a portion of 2d phase sales tax. the city rebates nothing on vacant zombie land meaning they invest nothing and lose nothing. so i guess its gone pretty well from phoenix's perspective.

I like the EORP angle. Watch for it in some future Gould floor speech.

While you make some great points, some of your associations are a little off. The call center "craze" was not a matter of policy; it was an observation of what was actually happening. I don't recall anyone throwing incentives at call centers. They just came because we had lots of young people without jobs who were willing to work for relatively low pay. Also, for whatever reason, the Phx Convention Center seems to be booming this summer - if lunch time restaurant business and unavailability of rental cars is any indication, that investment seems to be working. But don't get me started on Glendale. Their Camelback Ranch project is what has Mesa in trouble, and it is not paying off anytime soon.

Corporate welfare is alive and well. I wonder how that is working in Iraq where we handed out cost plus contracts without a bidding process. Anyone care to guess?

It is really interesting to hear a Republican's perspective on these "economic development" strategies because it matches that of a progressive pretty closely. That is to say that subsidies and giveaways are clearly the cause of the problems outlined in your post and it seems like you're opposed to these problems. Even though taxpayer monies provide the start-up cash for a downtown hotel or a new stadium the fact remains that the corporate interest yeilds the greatest financial return. I am all for building new stadiums, hotels, light rail, and other urban investments IF the receiving entity is held accountable to the promises it makes.

I'm a free market libertarian and I put most of the blame squarely at the lobbyist culture in our local government.

Republicans have generally run this state for the last 50 years, and the bedrock principle of the conservative philosophy is the belief in the free market and smaller government, yet these same Republicans change their tune as soon as the lobbyists come knocking on their door with cash.

Just look at the ridiculous things you can get passed in this state with even an inept lobbyist, like a Rock and Roll museum in Eloy paid for by taxpayers.

The Democrats are no better, they also have their lobbyists and are usually part and parcel to all this ridiculous corporate welfare.

What we need is a constitutional amendment similar to California's where 2/3rds of the legislature is needed to pass a budget. That would put a severe dent in all this nonsense. And we also need to nominate better Republicans that will stick to their conservative principles.

Speaking of cannibalism, let's not forget what Mesa's Riverview project has done to West Mesa. Riverview's current tenants are comprised in large part of businesses who left other shopping centers in West Mesa to relocate to the new taxpayer-subsidized Riverview. These include Wal-Mart, SkiPro, Peter Piper Pizza, Office Max, Pretty Party Place, Bed Bath and Beyond, Radio Shack, Taco Bell, etc.

The effect has been lots of zombie shopping centers lining a 4 mile stretch of both Alma School and Dobson roads. And guess what? The businesses that relocated (Wal-Mart, SkiPro, etc.) are not adding NEW sales tax revenue to Mesa--their sales tax revenue was already benefitting Mesa.

Add to this (or subtract if you prefer) that the new businesses that opened up shop in the taxpayer-subsidized Riverview cannibalized market share from other nearby car dealers, restaurants, and retailers. For example, ABC Nissan has a beautiful new facility in the taxpayer-subsidized Riverview, but there are almost no car dealers left on Broadway between Alma School and Dobson.

The Riverview development has not done much to help Mesa because a lot of the sales tax revenue is simply due to cannibalization from other businesses and shopping centers. It has hurt West Mesa by encouraging vacancy in other nearby shopping centers.

But there is some good news for Mesa--Waveyard may never actually get the financing it needs to start construction.

Excellent post--and I love the EORP idea, as long as there are no bailouts when it goes under, of course.

The one thing government could have done to actually help our economy was to let the new mine in Superior open up. But typical as always liberal Raul Grijalva and his bunch blocked progress.

After all the government would simply have to trade some land and no cash would have gone to anybody, and we could have had hundreds of new jobs for a long time.

My point: the one time government could really have created jobs, they screwed that up too. The lobbyist for the mine must really suck; or at least the lobbyist for the enviro's must really be good.

"They just came because we had lots of young people without jobs who were willing to work for relatively low pay."

Call centers also were attracted to the excellent weather and the fact that Arizona is a right-to-work state.

No closing down call centers because they're snowed out, and no unions to screw things up.

We still have a lot of call centers, even though Bangalore also has good weather and no unions...

Here is the new standard for public largesse for personal corporate playgrounds;

Originally estimated to cost $650 million, the (Dallas Cowboy) stadium's current construction cost was $1.5 billion, making it one of the most expensive sports venues ever built. To aid Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones in paying the construction costs of the new stadium, Arlington voters approved the increase of the city's sales tax by 0.5 percent, the hotel occupancy tax by 2 percent, and car rental tax by 5 percent. The City of Arlington provided over $933 million (including interest) in bonds as funding, and Jones covered any cost overruns. Also, the NFL provided the Cowboys with an additional $150 million, as per their policy for giving teams a certain lump sum of money for stadium financing.

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