Ten years ago the GUARDIAN reported on the potential accounting problems when a developer is allowed to divert Idaho sales tax to personal use. That s what ITD did at the VILLAGE Mall in Meridian. The developer created his own urban renewal district with sales tax from retailers.
The resulting traffic, growth, and ham-handed accounting are becoming all too common.
Clancy, one of our greenie readers, noted in a recent comment that parking at the Village might not be exactly free.
He cited a recent post by Betsy Russell which explained that state sales tax revenues WOULD have been on target, but taxpayers were obligated to payoff debt to the developer of the Village to the tune of $2.7 million.
The snafu points up the folly of using public funds to spur growth at the expense of taxpayers. Wouldn t it be nice if we could ALL designate where our taxes would be spent!
Solution For Downtown Parking Rate Hike
Front Street Traffic (U.S. 20)
For an office worker making a take home pay of $40,000, the new $170 rate represents a monthly cost of 5% of their pay. For the service workers in the vibrant downtown restaurant and coffee scene, we won t even attempt to calculate the impact on their income.
The GUARDIAN got to thinking that it might be just as easy to cut demand if everyone wishing to dine and shop simply took their business to the Boise Bench, Meridian, or the Town Square Mall. There are plenty of dining and drinking venues and the parking is FREE. Also, you don t have to live in fear of a $15 parking ticket if the lunch time service is a bit slow.
All those economic development experts seem to create problems so they will have something to solve. We allow them to rezone property and approve variances to build big box stores like Wal Mart, Target, Shopko, along Federal Way, Overland, Fairview, and State to prey upon all the new apartments and residences in those urban sprawl area. It seems counter intuitive when the urban planners, politicos, and environmentally correct folks condemn the use of cars. Ever try to get a week s work of groceries on a bicycle or wrestle two bags of steer manure on one of this infrequent buses?
Since Downtown is home to mostly the homeless and well-to-do condo dwellers, we think shop and dine close to home, makes sense.
Shameless Pandering For Christmas Gift Idea
If you want to give a very limited edition book to a parent, friend, or veteran that will never be on the NY TIMES bestseller list, consider DRAFTED, VIETNAM at War and at PEACE.
“DRAFTED!” is GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier’s behind-the-scenes account of the mostly involuntary Army of the 1960’s and his personal quest to make the best of an otherwise unpleasant situation and have fun doing it during the Vietnam War.
As a young freelance reporter-photographer, Frazier was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Vietnam. A note in his personnel file from a friendly commander led to an assignment as a Public Affairs NCO writing about and photographing the activities of the transportation command during the height of the Vietnam War in 1967-68.
Frazier’s memoir provides a unique look at Vietnam as both a war and a country. Dozens of contemporary photos along with “historic” war time images by the author compliment the vignettes and offer a peek at life in Vietnam today.
Think: equal parts M.A.S. H., GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, and soul-baring truths from a vet who returned unscathed, but not unchanged.
You can contact me directly using the CONTACT link above on this page or get an digital version at AMAZON . If you contact me, the $15 price includes autograph and coffee. At Amazon you can get it for $3, but no signature or coffee.
Woodings Only REAL Winner In Boise Election
Incumbent TJ Thomson tallied 47% of the votes for seat 4 in his four-way race while Lisa Sanchez surprised the GUARDIAN with 44% in a five-way race for seat 2. While some might call their respective victories landslides, both Sanchez and Thomson failed to get a majority of support from voters.
In fact, when viewed through the lens of the big picture, neither Sanchez nor Thomson got the support of even 10% of the registered voters.
With all of the 88 precincts reporting, the turnout was a mere 20% of registered voters.
After a similar series of crowded races some 15 years ago, City Councilors passed an ordinance requiring a runoff election between the top two vote-getters if a majority of votes cast were not obtained by one candidate.
Former Councilor Dave Eberle won a race against Paula Forney in the only runoff election and Eberle promptly introduced an ordinance to repeal the majority rule. That ordinance was passed, bringing us back to minority rule with 8% being considered a landslide.
You can see election details HERE.
Corporate Welfare Costly To Idahoans
Corporate monsters gobbling up local businesses like the Pac Man monsters was easy to understand when the K-Mart, Wal Mart, and Home Depots ran the neighborhood hardware and local clothing stores out of business. When the cities and states created economic development departments and urban renewal agencies the equation became cloudier, but no less devastating.
Such is the case with a local payroll processing firm which has won a unanimous Idaho Supreme Court decision allowing it to sue the State of Idaho over so-called tax incentives which are nothing more than corporate welfare. Employers Resource Management Co. of Boise sued in 2016 after Idaho Dept. of Commerce officials gave a tax incentive to Paylocity, an Illinois company and competitor establishing a new office in Meridian.
The GUARDIAN is particularly concerned that two of the Republican candidates for Governor are involved in the detrimental deals. Tommy Ahlquist and his Gardner development firm will own the five-story Paylocity building in Meridian, but NO TAX REVENUES on the building will go to Meridian, Ada County, ACHD, or West Ada Schools. The taxes will go toward even more urban renewal for the next 20 years.
The City of Meridian put frosting on the welfare cake by making an urban renewal district out of a farm field at Ten Mile and I-84. Meanwhile 500 more workers with cars, and children which will demand schools, sewers, roads, police, and fire services will be subsidized by existing property owners.
Ahlquist s opponent for the Guv job is Lt. Guv. Brad Little who is proud to take credit for working to recruit Paylocity and has noted that urban renewal laws are a benefit to recruiting new businesses.
The local news and city election in Boise has been dominated by a massive effort of Mayor Dave Bieter and his Team Dave to subsidize a commercial real estate developer with construction of a baseball-soccer sports stadium.
Amid cries of growth is inevitable, and if you aren t growing, you re dying, local property owners are victims of having their taxes diverted to urban renewal and business owners are faced with unfair competition by out of state firms receiving those incentives, at the expense of Idaho taxpayers.
Contrary to claims of politicos, growth does NOT pay for itself. Greedy local governments bend over backwards to stimulate growth at the expense of school districts and other local governments forced to build sewers, schools, highways, and expand police and fire departments.
The GUARDIAN growthophobe position remains the same: If a business wishes to come to our fair state, pay a fair wage and the same taxes paid by the rest of us, welcome aboard! If the business is looking for a handout and other incentives, look elsewhere.
For a really entertaining explanation see JOHN OLIVER.
The Boise Guardian
is a fun, factual, informed and opinionated look at current news and events in and around Boise, Idaho. The Guardian was born of necessity.