Thursday, May 12, 2016

CCR 05-12-16 Taxing Swag

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

"Taxing Swag"

   Sometimes, staff of the CCR just has trouble understanding the thinking, or supposed thinking, of local city council members.  And the upcoming city council meeting will again cause our cerebral synapses to fry.

   If Irving has what every realtor states is necessary for success (location, location, location), then why does the city council have to drag out the hammer and break the city’s piggy bank to GIVE corporate cronies incentives, benefits, infrastructure, and tax abatements to conduct their business in Irving?

   And remember, those Crony Capitalism perks are at the direct expense of Irving property tax payers.

   All too often, the "pie-in-the-sky" renderings and economic development spin splattered all over the city council causes them to merely ask the potential perk receiver: Would like a scoop of ice cream to make your pie a la mode?  

   This Thursday night, May 12, 2016, is another "Let’s Give You A Deal" session of the Irving City council.  And the corporate crony-recipient is none other than Verizon.  Y’all come on down…the perks are abundant!  
   (All right, stop the booing of Verizon.  Frontier Communications now states everything is in order with the sale and transition from Verizon and only 1% (snicker, snicker, snicker) of their new Texas customer base had issues!  Everything is fine and any problems customers thought they might be having are just in their head.  Actually, how could Frontier’s complaint figures be accurate when many individuals couldn’t even reach or understand a customer service representative to register a concern? )

   Temporarily forget Verizon chunked its Irving telecommunications customers to inept wolves in the dark of night.  Forget the Irving Verizon/Frontier customers were told there would be no changes in billing for services.  Forget Verizon/Frontier related services would be the same as before the sale.  Of course, Verizon/Frontier genuinely believed the new Frontier customer base would also suffer from amnesia!
   (For the Record: Staff of the CCR witnessed a $20.00 increase in cost with no changes in services for their first Frontier billing!)

   However, to the current issue at hand which will cause Irving property tax payers to forget their amnesia and wonder when the city council contracted the Crony Capitalism virus.

   Verizon is planning a new business campus development on the acreage it owns which has nothing to do with its telecommunications business.  And this development venture is a for-profit concern.

   Before the city council even considers a basket of gifts and perks for Verizon, one question should be asked: How long will the Verizon regional office, with all the folks employed in Irving, remain in Irving?  It seems, from previous pronouncements, as if Verizon is remaining in the telecommunications business to serve primarily east coast customers.

   If the city council lavishes tax payer funded perks on Verizon and they later skip town to run their for-profit venture on the east coast, was this the council’s way of giving them a humongous going away gift?

   Concerning the perks perversion the council is considering, Verizon is not the only corporate crony in this "Let’s Give You A Deal."  Part of the package includes Pioneer Natural Resources which will be a major tenant in Verizon’s planned for-profit development.

     Before the council, for approval, are Resolutions 34-35 which will give Verizon a tax abatement agreement of 75% of real property taxes and 75% of personal property taxes for a 10-year relief period.  WOW!

   When will the city council address infrastructure reimbursement cost, which were originally part of the perverted perk package, with Verizon?

   But hold on!  The city council will be throwing even more of your tax money around.  There will also be an "economic incentive" granted to Pioneer for over $2M just to show how generous the council can be if Pioneer leases the space from Verizon in the new office building.

   Of course, there are a couple of stipulations which Verizon and Pioneer should meet during the terms of these agreements, but really, will anyone actually provided the follow-up to ensure the benchmarks are met with audit certainty?

   To spare a bit of redundant typing, read the following Dallas Morning News article by Steve Brown who outlines what is currently know about the Verizon sweetheart deal.  Of course, what the council will approve could be even more generous…once the smoke clears from the rooms where folks have huddled to hammer out all of the tax payer funded and swag bag gifting behind closed doors.

And if you are convinced Frontier is currently doing a fantastic job in Irving, then the following column should put those feelings to rest while Verizon pockets your tax bucks.

   When will the city council and city administration put together a "swag bag" for residents to ensure streets, drainage, police and fire personnel and equipment are not continuously on the back burner, or experiencing delayed implementations due to the millions upon millions gifted to crony capitalist who make profits on tax payer funds?
   Can't these businesses make it without being on the government dole?

……………………………….Mark Holbrook