Helen Burns Sharp Questions Tax Breaks For 2 Businesses

Friday, November 22, 2013 - by Hollie Webb

As the Industrial Development Board of Chattanooga passed resolutions that offered tax incentives to several incoming companies in its Friday meeting, Helen Burns Sharp questioned how aware the public is of these practices.

Opening her presentation, she said that former President John F. Kennedy had spoken in Chattanooga about this very subject. Years before he was a presidential candidate, he had addressed the Chattanooga Rotary Club. There he called for an end to the state of Tennessee's practice of issuing revenue bonds to new industries. Revenue bonds are tax exempt and may be issued to finance public works. 

In the meeting, the board voted to give these property tax breaks to Woodbridge Chattanooga Formed Plastics and WNA American Plastics. However, Ms. Sharp questioned if giving these tax breaks was not "more like a reward than an inducement." She pointed out that the problem was not "Woodbridge-specific." 

First, she asked the board members if this was really necessary to bring in new companies. It had previously been said that the process of selecting a site for development was competitive; Chattanooga was one of several options for each company. However, it was not stated if the other potential locations had offered similar tax incentives.

She next asked the board, "Are these the kind of jobs Chattanooga wants to incentivise?" Each company will bring over 50 new full-time jobs to the area, with average wages around $16 per hour. Ms. Sharp pointed out that a non-industrial company like Costco would also create jobs and offer average wages closer to $22 per hour. 

She said, "I think we have some fundamental transparency issues." She told the board it was difficult to find information about their meetings and that other agencies like the Chamber of Commerce did not even open their meetings to the public. She said, "The public needs someone who's going to discuss in a public forum why (the resolutions) are a good idea, and why they are good for the city."

Several board members told Ms. Sharp they were sympathetic to her concerns and would try to give the public more information about the dates and times of future meetings. 


Donna Christian Lowe Chosen To Emcee And Facilitate Causeway Challenge Kickoff

Donna Christian Lowe, senior vice president and COO of MSi Workforce Solutions has been chosen to be the emcee and facilitator at the Causeway Challenge Kickoff “Reclaiming Civic Engagement”. This year the Causeway Challenge is about empowering individuals to solve problems in their own communities through creative ventures.   Ms. Lowe was selected to facilitate this event ... (click for more)

Rep. DesJarlais Praises Repeal Of EPA "WOTUS" Rule

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D. released the following statement, after the Trump Administration’s announcement Tuesday it would withdraw the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. The Environmental Protection Agency rule, which the prior administration issued to expand federal authority over local waterways, potentially including puddles and drainage ditches, threatened ... (click for more)

Apartment Fire Leaves Family Of 4 Homeless

No injuries were reported in connection with an apartment fire Tuesday afternoon. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm around  1:30  p.m. and responded with six fire companies to Bayberry Apartments at 2300 Windsor Street. Ronald Boyd, who lives nearby, was one of the first to spot the flames and ran to the two-story apartment building to alert the ... (click for more)

3 People Shot At Citgo On Glenwood Drive; 1 Dies; D'Kobe Jordan, 19, Arrested On Multiple Charges

Three people were shot at a convenience store in Glenwood on Monday afternoon. One later died after being rushed to the hospital.  The incident happened around 2:40 p.m. at the Citgo at 101 Glenwood Dr. Police said the teen who shot the man who died was wounded himself and went to the hospital. D'Kobe Jordan, 19,  is now facing murder charges. Chattanooga Police ... (click for more)

Improvements On The Glass Bridge

The glass bridge has been an embarrassing situation almost since the day of installation. At least two or three and usually more sections of glass have continuously been cracked. This creates fear in pedestrians and causes most to want to use the middle metal section. In addition, it has not been maintained for cleanliness.  I observed that both the front section and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: California’s Foolishness

Over the weekend Hillary Clinton, the first runner-up in the latest presidential election, tweeted, “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this (health) bill, they're the death party.” It was also being seriously debated if the psychotic action of the gunman who shot Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise was due to the repugnant rhetoric being increasingly spewed by other liberals. Great ... (click for more)