The News Tribune did not print my statement to the City Council in opposition to the St Mary's TIF. The TIF would allow Farmer Brothers to charge 1 percent sales tax in addition to other sales taxes on all sales on the St. Mary's property. The Farmer Brothers would receive that money.
The Farmer Brothers say their plan could not take place without the tax money. That demonstrates that it is not a good plan. It must be easy to design a development that exceeds the potential of the property. They should design a plan that will pay for itself and make money and not designed to get tax money.
I offered information demonstrating that retail is a poor business now because internet purchases are increasing by 15 percent per year. A lot of retail chains are closing stores and are in bankruptcy. The Farmers representative said this location would not have shoe stores and such, but restaurants. That will be a lot of restaurants in one location. He did not offer any other examples of businesses that could be in the building.
The Farmers tried to make us think that their development would increase development downtown. That area already has attractions better than a shopping center — the Capitol and various office buildings.
I expect the entire council to vote yes with no explanation as to why. All facts will be disregarded. No member of the council can give a good explanation of why taxpayers should pay millions of dollars to the Farmer Brothers without knowing it. Few people notice how much sales tax they pay. The Farmers never put a notice in any of their developments about their cut of the sales taxes. The Capital Mall is an example.
The council should protect citizens from such rip-offs.
Issue-oriented letters to email@example.com are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words in length; longer letters may be edited to conform to the specified length. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published.