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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Corporate welfare in Phoenix

The Arizona Republic brings us another glowing puff piece on the beauty, the splendor, the wonder, the power and the glory of the forthcoming Trolley system:
Funny thing about "knowledge workers": They don't like to drive.

That's one of the reasons Thomas Gorny decided on a site along the future light-rail line when he relocated his Web-hosting business to Phoenix from Santa Monica, Calif., late last year.

"I found that a lot of developers and IT people don't like to drive," said Gorny, chief executive officer of iPowerWeb Inc.

He hasn't plumbed his employees' psyches to understand why, but he estimates 20 percent of his 120 workers carpool, take the bus or bike to work, anything to avoid the car commute.

When rail opens in late 2008, Gorny figures he'll be perfectly positioned at 919 E. Jefferson St. to use the rail as a perk for his transit-loving staff.
This is so cute. The taxpayer subsidy on the Trolley will be $10 per trip, possibly much more. So the subsidy per "knowledge worker" – these would be the same "knowledge workers" who buy all the insanely expensive sports cars? – will be something like $20 per work day, $100 per work week, $5,000 per year.

Why wouldn't Gorny be glad? He's getting up to $5,000 per employee in benefits, paid for by the gullible taxpayers of Phoenix.

The City is destroying an immense amount of wealth. It's not just the billions in tax dollars that will be thrown away building and operating this paragon of 19th Century technology. Vast tracts of land Downtown have been expropriated, as has the entire south side of Camelback Road from 19th Avenue to Central Avenue. This was all taxable commercial real estate, and its taxable value is now gone forever. Still worse, its value as space where profits are produced by production, not destroyed by taxation, is gone forever. Profit-seeking small businesses are perishing all along the route of the Trolley as construction makes them inaccessible.

But all we get from the local media – and not just the Republic – is propaganda. If we had just one actual newspaper in this town, we might have been spared the slow-motion train wreck the Trolley and its attendant boondoggles will cause.

posted by Greg Swann | 7:15 AM  


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