Archive for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Guest Column: “Industry” detrimental to county

July 9, 2008

I have noticed that several of the candidates for county commissioner are again touting bringing "industry" to Leavenworth County. I believe that we need to compare the claims to reality.

They claim that it will bring new tax money into the county. The truth is exactly the opposite. The first thing that the commissioners do is give a long-term tax abatement to any factory (30 years is not uncommon). The total effect is to actually reduce the tax income to the county by whatever the land and/or buildings was producing in the way of taxes. Double whammy.

They claim that it will provide jobs for Leavenworth countians. The reality is that it will only employ a few of us and then only at the bottom of the pay scale. If a factory employs a total of 60 people, the first 10 will be the management who they move in to oversee things. The next 10 will be the skilled employees who know their equipment and procedures. That leaves a total of 40 jobs (at the bottom). Some of those may stay with present employees at a previous location. The others will be hired from wherever. They will NOT necessarily hire Leavenworth Countians and no government can force them to do so. I suggest you remember what happened when Kansas City, Mo., got the Harley Davidson plant. The city government screamed bloody murder (probably just PR as they knew it would happen) because very few of their employees were actually from Kansas City, Mo.

What that leaves us with are the taxpayers of this county paying this factory's taxes (you didn't think that they would reduce the county expenditures to reflect the tax abatement did you?) for a small number of jobs (maybe none) for our people at the bottom of the pay scale. All this while they are using our electric, water, road and school systems (which also will increase that tax).

Let's also remember what kind of "industry" our commissioners have wooed in the past. Dynamite trucking company and storage facility just east of Tonganoxie was one that they approved. Fortunately the DOT stopped that one. I heard that they later went bankrupt. The next was the Bio Lab that we didn't get. I assume that you will sleep easily knowing that they are testing for Ebola (hemorrhagic fever, over 99% fatal). One mosquito gets out and bites your child?

If you still think that having a factory next door to your house is OK, I suggest that you inspect the Argentine. Kansas Avenue and 18th Street is a good place to start. If you like that then please send your name and address to the county and ask them to locate their next "industry" next door to you.

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