When I take a dollar from my left pocket and put it in my right, I am no richer.
When business moves from one Ohio Valley town to another the Valley has not grown.
When the government ponies up cash for "economic development", it should raise all boats. It should IMPROVE the area, not just move money around.
I am thinking these thoughts as Belmont County looks at a big loss of sales tax dollars and Commissioner Mark Thomas lays the blame at the feet of the Highlands--Ohio County's new retail development surrounding Cabella's, which Thomas says has simply taken dollars away from the areas around the Ohio Valley Mall and Plaza.
When businesses choose to move for their own reasons, that's just....well....business.
But when multi-millions of tax dollars are spent to create a development area---as was done in the case of Cabella's and the Highlands---some sort of greater good should be achieved. Tax revenue should grow, opportunities for good jobs should be expanded, or the possibility of future growth should be enhanced.
Cabella's itself, I think, DID create the possibility of future growth. There will be a big announcement next week about a major new attraction at the Highlands, and it, too will be a big boost.
But many of the stores already in development at the Highlands are just more of the same. And there will be a second big announcement next week that will be a big addition to the Highlands---but will be a huge loss to the City of Wheeling.
And I think there's something wrong with that.
I hate to sound like a Republican, but government should stay out of the economic development arena UNLESS in the end there is growth.
Moving money from one pocket to the other is a waste of our taxpayers dollars and is a fraud on the public when it's called "development".