Thursday, February 23, 2006

Candidate meeting update - 30th ward

I gave a talk at Knoxville Block Watch - and talked in part about the girls high school basketball game. I gave the game score, 71 to 31, and someone spoke up saying -- it was 71 to 30-something-else. I said, "Where you there?"

Carrick HS is just over the hill from where we were presenting. So, I wasn't certain if a parent of a player or uncle might have been at both events. It was just a remark from the sidelines.

The big news of the night, besides the presence of the City Paper photographer, was the appearance of the 30-year-old Republican -- his first event in public. He mentioned support to avoid TIFs, as M.B. and I generally do, but didn't know -- or miss-spoke -- on the actual meaning of the TIF word. TIF stands for, "Tax Incremental Finance."

Yes, we need to end TIFs. We need to end tax-breaks for corporations. TIFs are a way to have the super rich get richer and the poor get poorer. TIFs make for bad policy. TIFs are not fair. TIFs are confusing and come without an open accounting of their progress and performance.

I've campaigned in the past that TIF laws in Harrisburg should be changed. Futhermore, and most important, we need to elect people who are AGAINST ALL TIFs. The city, under Murphy's rule, and with his fellow Dems, has gone overboard on TIFs.

When TIFs are used, they become a "BRIBE" to get a business to open up here. Often after the tax break fades, so too does the company. They close. Rather, we want sustainable business development.

When TIFs are used, the hurt all the honest business operations who need to compete with the business that gets to pay less in taxes. So, when Lazarus had a TIF and didn't have to pay much in taxes, an established clothing store, perhaps that sold mens' suits, had to compete against Lazarus. The market place gets poison with the TIF as then you need to give a tax-break to be 'fair' to the other store owner too. That can't work.

So, the one's without a TIF vote with their feet -- they leave. They close. And, the one's we want to move to the area to open -- won't. They see how things work here and go elsewhere.

When US Airways went down the tubes and the message was sent out from the US Senators and others in the top elected offices that there would be NO MORE GIVE-A-Ways to US Airways (no new hangars, no new rebates, etc.) -- then Southwest had an opening to move here.

US Airways had LOCKED up all the gates at Pittsburgh's airport. As another firm would start up service -- US Airways would undercut them. As a result, all passengers from Pittsburgh paid more. The lack of competition hurt us.

Playing favorites is a bad way to govern.

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