Thursday, December 22, 2005

Here we go again, and again...

Just what are our elected officials up to this time? O’Connor and Rendell are happily shaking hands as they use our money to partially finance a thirty story office tower at the initially projected cost of $170 million. That is about six million dollars per floor. It will feature 150 luxury hotel rooms, 30 condominiums, and 360,000 square feet of office space, and the much anticipated down town ground level retail. PNC will invest $122 million, and we will help them with an additional $48 million through state funding and tax incremented financing. (This means you can leech off the taxes of the rest of us for a few years and not pay your share. Then, just ask Lord and Taylor, you can leave if things don’t go your way. The result being no jobs, no tenant, and no ground level retail.)
It would be more beneficial and cost effective if Rendell et al. cleared this area of town for a fourth river. But Reed Smith, the law firm that will occupy 180,000 square feet of this space, and mega-bank PNC, who have together donated nearly $100,000 so far to Mr Rendell, probably don’t like to kayak.
If the pay raise lit a match under you to pay attention to local and state politics, this should lead to spontaneous combustion. The downtown occupancy rate is about 80% and portions of the spaces that are rented are empty, with no business in the space, no workers, and no jobs.
The state politicians, along with mayor Murphy, used public funds to build two large stadiums it was said would spur economic development and create jobs. They also decided on a convention center whose space is unused, but very attractive. The intake for 2006 for the center is about $2.9 million, while the cost to operate, heat, and cool the place is about $3.5 million.
Does anybody remember Parkway center mall? When was the last time you were there? And what happened to US air, and Lazarus?
We are allowing a group of, at best, professional guessers to decide where our tax dollars are spent. The trouble is they have horribly short memories and don’t want to, or don’t care to research what political decisions can stop the loss of population and businesses from this region. Someone please tell them what GOOGLE is for. Maybe it is because they have no business making these decisions and using our tax dollars for these projects.
If this idea is so appealing and profitable, I would trust that a developer would see the profit potential and built it with their own money. That is not to say, that some areas can not be helped with these “political decisions”, but we have been down that road before and it always results in a dead end until the next public official proclaims they have a better way to divert the traffic.
It seems to me that lessening restrictions, taxes, and regulations on small businesses and entrepreneurs, would lead to development, jobs, and a return of population to our region. People devote more of their hard work and sweat when they are using their own money and should be allowed to enjoy the rewards.
Its time we invite certain elected officials to join the private sector so they can find this out for themselves, because they surely are not doing an acceptable job spending our money.

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