Downtown Eugene

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It IS a subsidy

Incredibly, among the talking points of the pro-mega-development campaigners, is an assertive lie: 'this is not a subsidy, but a public investment.' Well, I'll quote wikipedia:

In economics, a subsidy is a kind of financial government assistance, such as a grant, tax break, or trade barrier, in order to encourage the production or purchase of a good. The term subsidy may also refer to assistance granted by others, such as individuals or non-government institutions, although this is more commonly described as charity.

KWG is asking for subsidies to produce the megaproject. Anyone who buys a chunk of the result, will be buying a 'house', if you will, constructed in part with public money, and which would have not been built without it. Any commercial entity, say 'The Gap', which rents in the mall, will be renting a space, indeed an entire neighborhood, created for their use, with public money. Their landlord, whatever corporate entity is created to do this, will have new property created for them with part public money.

Luckily, the voters will understand that $40 million of their tax money, is $40 million, no matter how you spin it. They will not give it to a developer of a downtown mall, just as they would not give it to the developer of a surburban mall.