I have been reading “The Great American Jobs Scam” (hat tip to Pattsi Petrie). If what Greg LeRoy says is accurate and precise, red flags and klaxon alarms start going off in my head when I hear about any kind of tax incentive that purports to “bring in new business”. The NUMBER ONE big thing, to me, is the need for transparency and accountability. These two are inseparable. And I want to clarify that I am not opposed to tax incentives in and of themselves – rather it is the need to know exactly where our money is going and why. It is the fundamental rule of being fiscally responsible and having a budget. If one cannot account for the flow of money, one is not mature enough to handle it, IMO.
As such, I have sent the following email to the Board (and I carbon copied Dr. Wiegand and Mr. Gene Logas):
Good morning, Members of the Board,In regards to a News-Gazette article about a new proposal to bring in a hotel to downtown Champaign, the City is planning to offer substantial tax rebates. I am not certain if school board members typically get involved in such discussions or not, but I urge the Board to get involved if they are not. It is my understanding that such a new tax rebate, if put into effect, will further reduce monies coming into the school system. It is not such much that this is a “big evil plan”, but rather this is just one more example of how public tax dollars are funneled into the hands of corporate interests and away from our children. I know each of you care very much about education and all the students, and I thank you for fighting for them.