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Limestone County School System Asked To Help Fund Corporate Welfare.

by: countrycat

Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:40:26 AM CDT

The Decatur City Council is offering a private developer $40 million in sales tax rebates and infrastructure incentives to build a retail development in Limestone County - and asking the Limestone County schools to kick in even more by giving up some expected sales tax income.Corporate Welfare

The problem is that the developer thinks the $40 million isn't enough:

To make the Sweetwater development a reality, though, other government entities much pitch in, Hammon said.
"According to the developer, it's still a little bit short. That's where Limestone County is going to have to come in. (Decatur) can't do anything else."

Note that Decatur is the county seat of Morgan County, so we have the interesting situation of the city council in one county asking a neighboring county to fork over some corporate welfare cash.

So here's the plan they've come up with for Limestone County.  They want the county to contribute some portion of the 2% sales tax that will be collected:

The 2 percent Limestone County sales tax that would be collected from the businesses in the Decatur-annexed area at Interstate 65 and I-565 is allocated for Limestone County Schools. 

Dr. Tom Sisk, superintendent of Limestone County Schools, was on his way this morning to meet with unknown representatives of the deal when he stopped to make a comment.

"I have never been in a situation where a school system has been asked to help with this kind of economic development," Sisk said.

He did say, however, that the school system "does not have a lot of discretionary revenue."

"We are 108th in funding (statewide) and 13th in size," he said. For Fiscal year 2011-2012, the last one reported, sales tax revenue for Limestone County Schools totaled $14.67 million, according to County Administrator Pam Ball.

Shockingly, at least one County Commissioner thinks this plan is a good idea:

Limestone County Commissioner Gary Daly said the school system is likely to see an additional $1 million per year from the development and should "ante up."

Is this what we've come to?  Handing money away to out-of-state companies to lure them here and then asking our already strapped local school systems to help fund it?

This is even worse than it looks.  Alabama has no system to track whether taxpayers benefit from these subsidies and no mechanism in place to recoup the money if the businesses don't follow through on the agreement.  Thyssen Krupp anyone?

[Recently] The Wall Street Journal reported that ThyssenKrupp, a German manufacturer, decided to sell the largest, and newest, steel plant in America. It cost $5 billion to build and has been open for less than two years. The state of Alabama gave the company $1 billion in subsidies — most of which is now gone for good. That’s a lot of money. That’s crazy money. Which raises the question: How much crazy will it take for this kind of silliness to stop?  

Still waiting on Mitt Romney's "You Didn't Build That" tour to swing by all these taxpayer-subsidized developments that spread across North Alabama like poison ivy. 

This looks like a sweet deal for the so-called Sweetwater development and a sucker bet for local government.


countrycat :: Limestone County School System Asked To Help Fund Corporate Welfare.
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Hey! (4.00 / 1)

You made MeteorBlades round up of state blogs over on Kos.


I saw that right before I left for the gym (4.00 / 1)

how exciting!

I'm so glad they're starting this regular feature on state blogs.  Kos built his blog into a big time outfit, but most of us in the states - especially in the red states - are volunteers, part-time bloggers  who work hard to keep up with what's going on.

So nice to get some publicity and recognition.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith

[ Parent ]
Cream always rises to the top (4.00 / 2)

I discovered Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight blog shortly before he was picked up by the NYT.  At that time, it was one more blog, among thousands.  I kept going back to it because of the quality of his writing and his thought provoking posts.  (Nothing turns me off faster than misspelled words and poor grammar.)   I continued to access his posts without subscribing, until I began perusing other sections of the paper.  Now he's a superstar and now I subscribe to the NYT!

I continue to visit LIA for the same reason, albeit primarily to stay abreast of what the wingnuts in Montgomery are up to and how the wingnut counties are being impacted.  

So I am delighted to learn the quality of LIA has been noticed by KOS.  It may not be the homerun scored by fivethirtyeight, but it proves to me, yet again, that the cream always rises to the top! 


Nate Silver rocks... (4.00 / 1)

During the general election, FiveThirtyEight was the first site I visied every morning.  It was like visiting the Oracle for reassurance.

We've gotten a couple of links from Kos in the past, but not many!  I'm so glad to see them starting a project to highlight state progressive blogs.

I'm a NYT subscriber too.  We did that after our the announcement of the newspaper moving to the 3 day/week schedule.  I'm glad for the NYT, because what's left of the paper is hardly worth the time to bring it into the house.

Such a waste.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith

[ Parent ]



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