Steve Hanke, professor of Economics and fellow Stephen Walters of Johns Hopkins University wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal about corporate welfare. One of the points: "For every subsidized 'partner' of government, there is an unsubsidized loser." This is my concern with Belleville's administration when it comes to Tax Increment
Financing (TIF) handouts to corporate big stores. The losers are the locally owned businesses that have invested in our city for years and support local charities.
Another point was: "Local officials argue that handouts were necessary to stimulate the local economy. When it comes to stimulus at the local level the juice is rarely worth the squeeze. It is a prescription for inefficiency, inequity and corruption."
In Belleville we have many economic stimulus projects that have failed to meet their desired goals and we lack the staff to do proper overview and checks and balances.
These experts contend: "Local governments must balance their budgets, and the higher taxes required to finance these development programs crowd private spending." TIFs force the taxing entities to raise their rates to suffice their needed tax levy and therefore increase property taxes. That is a fact. Consequently, money out of our pockets limits our ability to spend at stores. When you add in higher sales taxes, our ability to spend freely is further exhausted.
Taxpayers have only a limited amount of money to spend. My fear: Which local businesses will be squeezed out by the city's current economic program's direction?
Joseph W. "Joe" Hayden
Alderman, Ward 5