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06/21/04  Tax Abatements are a Bad Policy.

The article Is this fair? is a 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.

nce 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 old stupidity. 

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. 






  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8