In recent years the term “Crony Capitalism” is one that Americans associate all too often with politicians and their political friends. While there are many high profile examples that one can point to at the national level, unfortunately our local community is not exempt from this form of picking winners and losers, at the expense of taxpayers and for the benefit of politicians’ “friends.”
Last month our own local governments (city council and county commission) gave away $1 million in tax breaks, known as PILOT’s, to a “for profit” apartment developer, Walk2Campus, under the guise of “affordable housing” — meaning 20% of the units would be 400 square feet for $750 per month.
Now, the city council and county commission are preparing to give away another tax break to former Chattanooga Mayor Jon Kinsey to renovate the Chattanooga Choo Choo, another private, for profit business, owned by Kinsey and his wealthy developer partners. And like the previous Walk2Campus apartment development, Kinsey promises to provide “affordable” housing, this time 350 square feet units for $800 per month!
Ms. Helen Burns Sharp, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners is a retired state, county and community planner whose career took her to Tennessee, Georgia and Oregon. Ms. Sharp will be our guest speaker this month as she shares her concerns over these PILOT’s and other tax “giveaway” programs that our local government has been engaged in for some time. Ms. Sharp will share the results of her recent study that revealed that in 2014 over $26 million in property tax revenue was “forgiven” because of tax breaks to businesses approved by Chattanooga and Hamilton County governments.
To hear more about the dangers these PILOT programs represent to you and your personal property tax rates, be sure to attend the Chattanooga Tea Party meeting this Thursday, March 19 at 6:30pm at The Century Club Banquet Hall, 3221 Harrison Pike (off Access Road, just south of the Highway 153-Amnicola Highway intersection, next to The Lighting Gallery).
Media are invited to cover this and all Chattanooga Tea Party monthly membership meetings.
Please RSVP at Chattanooga Tea Party’s Facebook page.