Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bent over by Bloomington, at the behest of a mall.

Speakers urge megamall support in Bloomington Chamber of Commerce appearance; MOA's owners appeal for public funding

Bill Griffith, attorney for the mall, said the project has come close to approval but has fallen short in the past three legislative sessions. Time is running short, he said.

"If we can't make the case in three years we won't be back for a fourth," Griffith said.

If the plan can't win legislative approval, Griffith said, the land set aside for Phase II will still be developed. But "big box" retail outlets would probably occupy it, he said.

"It won't be anything that helps all boats rise," Bausch said.

She said public contribution is easily justified in view of the $50 million in state and local taxes the mall generates annually. If the mall is expanded to existing proposals, that figure would increase to $80 million, Bausch said. The mall takes in $1 billion in revenue annually, she said.

Jackass, the plan failed, because, for the last 3 legislative sessions, the legislature has held, at least in this case, that assessing taxes from the citizenry to solely benefit a private enterprise is theft. Your mall should sink or swim on its own merits, not beg money from the state. If your business is worth it, funding should be a non-issue.

Here is what is actually being proposed:
Using what would have gone into the fiscal-disparities state pool to instead fund a parking ramp, which would be owned by Bloomington.

Transferring some land from a TIF district that expires in 2015 to one that expires in 2018.

Authorizing Bloomington to impose local sales taxes on lodging, admissions and recreation, food and beverages and a general sales tax of one percent on the mall.

Mall representatives said more than 80 percent of the cost would be covered by private money, but that at least 17 percent of the project must be public for the project to be viable. The expansion would draw new jobs and tourists to the state, boosting the local economy, proponents said.
The first point is a matter of redistributing the wealth of one city to another. "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need". The only part that bothers me is that Bloomington is asking for special treatment. Get rid of the socialist tax pool, instead of asking for an exemption.

Point number 3 is the sticking point. Taking money at gunpoint from people who have no stake in the mall, who will see no net benefit from the expansion, to give it to private enterprise to improve their bottom line. If the business is worth it, it can fund the expansion itself. Stop screwing me.

The 4th point is utter bullshit. The project is viable without public funding. You want to take public funding to improve your profit margin. That is theft, and more than enough reason to stop shopping in Bloomington, and to never, ever set foot in the Monstrosity Mall again.

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