06/21/04 Tax Abatements are a Bad Policy.
Is this fair?
wakeup call, given all the press last week about the city's proposed hikes in
property taxes. This proposed deal for the Patterson's
is a great example of why tax abatements are bad policy period.
Once the camel gets his nose into the tent, it won't be long until all of
him is happily inside. Because of
City Hall's love affair with tax abatements, the
analogy would be that the whole herd of camels is on his heels.
What seemed to be a reasonable policy to stimulate development in "blighted"
areas has predictably morphed into a vehicle for graft, corruption, and/or plain
But, why not? If the billionaire arena hyenas can do
it, and Jerry Jones can (maybe) do it, then why not wealthy homeowners?
In fact, I have a fence that is pretty rundown, and becoming something of a
public eyesore, so I should certainly get an abatement to rebuild it. Gosh,
that's an improvement that would be shared by lots of folks, unlike the
hidden house on Wendover Road. Since I didn't give any money
to Lois (my councilwoman), I guess I'm out of luck.
Seriously though, these tax abatements are simply another vivid illustration of
how foolish it is to tamper with natural free market dynamics.
Policy that seems reasonable at first is soon corrupted; free market dynamics
beat the bureaucrats and politicians every time.