Corporate Welfare: Volume II

Last week, our illustrious City Council gave away another $36 million in taxpayer guaranteed bond cash to fund yet another downtown, rich, fat cat development we don’t need, thank you very much.

This Dog was hopeful that a new council was going to reverse the corporate welfare train, but apparently that bit of wishful thinking flew out the window on a 7-4 vote to fund the new Strata Tower, slated to be built on top of an existing structure at 13th and Main Street.

The $36 million will fund a 750-space parking garage for the new development.

Those voting to give away your cash were Council members Heather Hall, Kevin O’Neill, Dan Fowler, Katheryn Shields, Eric Bunch, Ryana Parks-Shaw and Kevin McManus.

None of this should be any surprise, frankly.

Council members Teresa Loar, Brandon Ellington, Melissa Robinson, and Mayor Q voted “no” on the issue.

The Dog would like to thank Councilwoman Loar for her strident opposition to the cash grab and would encourage our readers and listeners to visit the city’s YouTube page for this gem of a quote from Ms. Loar.

She apparently is as sick of the developers having the keys to City Hall as the Dog is.

Here’s the money quote from Councilwoman Loar:

“We argued for an hour and a half in my committee yesterday trying to find $8 million for free bus fares,” she said. “We have a housing problem in this city where we don’t have affordable housing. Children don’t have coats in this kind of weather. We have so many problems. We have potholes, we need police officers on the streets, we need firefighters. And yet, we’re putting $36 million in another development downtown. Who is going to benefit from that? I tell you what, I am tired of this, I am tired of greedy developers getting all of the money from this city and the poor folks getting the short end of the stick.”

Bravo, Councilwoman Loar, bravo.

Even this mathematically-challenged NewsDog can cypher those are some pretty expensive parking spots, running about $48,000 each.

For that money, you could pick up a decent two-bedroom fixer-upper on the city’s east side, but those corporate hot shots have got to have their welfare.

Here’s the bottom line. This conservative-minded NewsDog has ‘splained this before and we’re here to do it again for those keeping score.

The primary reason local school districts and libraries are hurting for cash is directly related to corporate giveaways and TIF projects approved by the City Council.

Time to stop the corporate welfare train and refocus the priority on urban core infrastructure projects like streetlights, water lines, curbs, and sidewalks.

You know, the boring stuff that make cities more livable.

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