Economic development is a wonderful thing. It provides jobs, generally for relatives or other folks who might otherwise be on the dole.
Every year, the county’s economic-development department brings results: 12 great jobs with nice travel benefits and hundred-thousand-dollar salaries. Unfortunately, these jobs are tax-funded government jobs. Bloated bureaucrats vacation around the country and pretend to develop our economy.
Occasionally, an economic-development bureaucrat will help a bit. Mostly, they do it by having the government eliminate or waive some bureaucratic obstacle set up by the same government that is now “helping.”
Think of it as a perpetual-motion machine for jobs.
The companies seeking help tend to be what we call “corporate-welfare gypsies.” It has been long enough that many will have forgotten Ideal Aluminum.
They were the ideal example, because they moved just about the day after the tax subsidies ran out here.
We distinguish these gypsies from corporate-welfare queens like Lesa France and her racetrack company. It is hard to move a racetrack, but they still need tens of millions of dollars, plus huge property-tax exemptions, in order to stay here.
The Ormond company FitUSA is a corporate-welfare gypsy, not a queen. They got help this spring to start making masks.
Now that the business looks viable, they are asking for millions to stay here. Or, they say, they can move to Atlanta.
This threat caused economic-development panic. They have helped these people already, and so must pour more tax money down the same black hole. And we have to keep it quiet, too.
That means nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) all around.
Both the county and Ormond have signed NDAs, in hopes of keeping the latest round of corporate welfare under wraps. It appears, however, that FitUSA would like $7 million.
That sounds like a modest sum, right? Divide it over the county, your share is only about $12.62. Of course, if there is more than one person in your house, you can do the multiplication. And you would probably just waste the money on groceries anyway.
Economic development is paying bloated bureaucrats to give money away. The economic-development folks live very well, since we have developed their economies with 12 well-paid jobs and free travel. That makes it easy to tell what you should be thinking — your taxes provide good jobs for these most deserving of bureaucrats.
— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.