Daniel Horwitz and Mike Jameson go slow to explain the problem clearly to those who confuse willful self-ignorance with bliss:
The trope that Nashville's seemingly endless supply of tax abatements and economic development grants (two euphemisms for "corporate welfare") will ultimately "pay for themselves" is laughable.
Proof of that will come by 2016, when our next mayor — whoever that is — is forced to institute the largest property tax hike in Metro history just to cover the impending budget shortfall. When that happens, how many voters will look back upon our city's recent "investments" without regret?
Moreover, with local politicians clamoring to hand over public dollars to any business that even whispers about leaving town, why on earth wouldn't every other corporation in Nashville make the same threat? ....
Simply handing cash over to local corporations, however, can hardly be described as a "public investment." It's not. It also reeks of cronyism and incentivizes corruption. If Bridgestone ends up repaying Metro's current officeholders in campaign contributions a few years from now, will anyone really be surprised?
Rather than being real in their campaigning so far, nearly every mayoral candidate I've heard seems to act like they are in denial of gathering budgetary storm clouds. Each talks as if she or he would be a better Dean than Dean himself. In fact, they keep arguing that they will continue Karl Dean's insane corporate subsidies AND devote more money to neighborhoods and infrastructure. It is pure snake-oil, friends. Believe them at your own peril.
The chickens are eventually going to come home to roost for property owners and taxpayers. Someone is going to have to eventually pay for the bills Hizzoner is running up to keep his rave going. We may continue to join in the foolishness today if we wish, but the hangover is only going to be that much harder to deal with tomorrow.