When legitimate criticism scares people, they resort to name calling. Recently, when I questioned the veracity of the oft repeated claim that giving tax credits and monetary incentives is the only way to “win” new business and bring about “economic development,” some couldn’t handle the questioning. So they resorted to name-calling. ‘He’s anti-business’ says one. ‘And anti-growth’ says another.
Both are dead wrong. I operate several small businesses. I understand how small business is the foundation of our country as well as our county. Volusia County and all her municipalities should be doing whatever is necessary to keep taxes low for the purpose of attracting more good clean business. But what about the businesses in Volusia County that have already invested in and served our community for years without ever putting their hand in our back pockets ? It seems they are left out of the good times the chosen few are receiving.
Furthermore, the ultimate focus in this debate should be directed at every Volusia County tax payer. Who speaks for them? It is immoral to keep chipping away at the tax base they produce through hard work and sacrifice and then attempt to sell them on being the funding source for the County’s latest revenue scheme in order to make up the difference after their “contributions” are given away. We should be the lowest taxed county, not the highest, to help every business and resident in our county.
Did you move here because of a tax incentive? Neither did my family. It seems to me we could benefit from a broader vision for our county besides taxing and spending our way into prosperity. (Hint: it has never worked.)
I am not opposed to growth. Like most Volusians I want growth to be well planned and controlled so it benefits our quality of life and protects the natural beauty and unique environment we enjoy. Growth is only good if it does not create more gridlock and congestion, destroy our drinking water source, clear cut and wreak havoc on our beautiful environment, or pollute local treasures like the Tomoka, Halifax, and St. John’s rivers. We must plan so that our numerous lakes, essential wetlands, and world famous beaches aren’t destroyed or given away in the headiness of Big Growth.
Do we want to be Miami Beach, Las Vegas, or a desirable small town people want to visit and live in? Small town America is popular! Small doesn't mean boring, Volusia can provide big opportunities for a broad spectrum of tastes, many options for work and play, and do it all in an environment that is proud to protect our heritage.
Volusia is growing already. The Chamber of Commerce and the Volusia County Economic Development team both say so. So why do we need to bribe companies to come here? In fact some say you can’t stop growth.
We should give that some serious thought. It seems International Speedway Blvd, the gateway to our beachside, has not only found a way to stop growing but to enter the decay cycle. Poor planning and the unintended consequences of bad political choices can indeed stop growth and destroy once thriving neighborhoods and business districts. We must plan for the kind of growth the whole community wants. Let’s protect the quality of life we grew up with or moved here to enjoy. Let's improve it, not destroy it. That is what you will deciding with your vote August 28, 2018.
Businesses that are strong don’t need welfare type handouts. The Corporate welfare advocates haven’t done their homework. Find a single study- by an impartial source- that can show the benefits of giving tax breaks to rich companies. Good luck! None of the experts have found such a study.
If we want growth in Volusia County, we need to make laws and tax structures that favor ALL businesses, not just the few who make huge profits but still threaten to move elsewhere if they don’t get more tax breaks. Businesses and potential residents are attracted by low taxes, not incentives for one business.
So instead of name calling, let’s act like adults and be open to different opinions. I strongly advocate for both business and taxpayers.
It’s a lot better than name calling.
My Position: There are several reports from unbiased sources that show tax credits for one company don’t work. The better solution is to lower everyone’s taxes which will give us more money to spend ourselves instead of having it taxed out of us for a small group to give to one company.
Then, if we focus our spending on the things government is supposed to do, instead of using it for corporate welfare handed out to the chosen few, we will have the money we need to benefit every tax payer.
We don’t need any more tax increases, don’t be fooled.
But there is more! Many ask me the important question, “But if we don’t offer incentives- like everyone else does- how will we attract new business?” That is the subject of my next blog post for your Sunday night reading!