Lighthouse Letters: The Best From April
Each month, The Pilot reprints the letters judged to be the best from the previous month.
Pilot Should Brush
Up on Economics
FROM APRIL 13: The Pilot editorial of April 3 opines that if the commissioners vote against the Pine Forest rezoning request, “the county will lose an opportunity to boost the tax base, create jobs and enhance the overall economy.”
Such a statement, a throwback to the 1950s, signals a critical need for The Pilot to get caught up on modern economic theory. We now have overwhelming evidence that development projects such as Pine Forest will always result in a net loss for local taxpayers.
A 2002 University of Georgia study looked at 70 areas around the country and found that in no instance did a residential development generate sufficient revenue to cover the increased demands for services. Fodor & Associates of Oregon looked at growth rates in 100 metropolitan areas and found that faster growth rates in all cases are associated with lower incomes, greater income declines and higher poverty rates.
Economists such as Herman E. Daly have shown that a community can enhance its economy without geographic expansion. You can grow without continuously cutting down trees. Michael J. Kinsley, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, points out that a “community might be compared to a human being. Human growth after maturity becomes cancer. When a town continues to grow after maturity, its cancer is manifest in many ways — higher taxes, environmental degradation, spiteful controversy and a loss of a sense of community.”
President, Save Our Sandhills
Sauce for Goose
FROM APRIL 27: As they slash funding for education, crime prevention and basic services for the most needy of North Carolinians, one would think our newly minted, populist-talking conservative legislature would not embark on the wasteful spending in Raleigh.
One would be wrong!
Sen. Andrew Brock, from Mocksville, is proposing $6 million in upgrades for the legislative building. What is worrying is Brock is not a liberal member of the Democratic minority but chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
While anyone who has seen the legislative building in Raleigh would be forced to admit that the building is seriously dated and probably has security concerns that make it unsuitable for purpose in the 21st century, Brock wants to spend $1 million to cover a walkway between the legislative building and the legislative office building.
As we ask teachers to do more with less, and squeeze counties and cities to do more with declining tax revenues, isn’t it fair to ask our legislators to walk from one building to another without a cover over their heads?
Maybe instead of worrying about their heads getting wet, our legislators can use some of that personal responsibility and sacrifice we hear them preaching out of Raleigh and go buy an umbrella and get back to issues of importance to the people of this state.
This plan would not only stimulate the economy but increase state sales tax revenues.
More like this story