Here we go again. Another bond issue debacle on the taxpayer’s dime. This time the taxpayers will act as a bank for a private subdivision development group, Black Creek. Anyway, you dice it, this TIF bond issue is the essence of corporate welfare fueled by a connected group of developers that were given the welcome mat.
I would like to believe that our city and county government had the taxpayers’ back. Further, it would be great to have confidence in our decision makers and believe that our local government would have stringent safeguards in bond issue terms and conditions to protect its citizens. That would be dreamland because nothing could be further from the truth.
In October 2010, approximately $12 million left our community in bond penalties in the refinancing of a swaption bond because the taxpayers were encumbered to bond issue debt that had terms no one would enter into with their own money. Who would sign a mortgage with the same terms of this bond, an uncapped interest rate and penalties equal to the amount of principal paid towards the debt? The answer is, our government. It’s fun playing risk with other peoples’ money.
The same governments that approved the swaption have now approved a Black Creek subdivision road to receive the “deal of a lifetime,” as the Times Free Press has dubbed this deal. We the taxpayers are now bond debt encumbered to the tune of $9 million for a road up Aetna Mountain. Clearly, this project does not meet a legal TIF. Who cares - it just matters who is asking for corporate welfare.
The worst part is the city of Chattanooga currently has accumulated bond debt tied to property and sales tax revenue of approximately $430 million. The bond debt ceiling of 10 percent of the property assessments prescribes that our local government has just earmarked about 6% of the available bond capacity to this ridiculous private endeavor that no bank will touch. Otherwise, they would not be asking for public money. Hey, since it makes no sense, the taxpayers are going to act as the bank for the Black Creek road.
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I agree that the Aetna Mountain TIF is a deal of a lifetime. It's as travesty and anyone that voted for it on the City Council and County Commission should be voted out next time around in shame.
Free loaders are just that - free loaders.
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April, when governments and corporations work together it is fascism. The city of Chattanooga is a corporation masquerading as government. We are forced to invest in Volkswagen, Downtown, art, because our city and county government imposed them on us without letting us vote on the issues. If all these corporate projects are so good, why didn't they offer stock options on these projects?We are forced to invest without a dividend. Several local general contractors and lawyers get payed off and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill.
There is an easy solution, city and county government should have to have a referendum for any expenditure over a reasonable amount to run essential services. For the city council to decide on spending millions of dollars without a referendum is tyranny. It is time for the taxpayers to take back our city and county governments (corporations).
Why are they afraid of referendums? Because they are afraid of the taxpayers using common sense and preventing their insanity.
"We don't have to listen to anybody," Manny Rico.
"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him," Robert Heinlein.