Orwellian titles alone should give pause to voters given the 'pitch.'
Traverse City has apparently honored the wishes of the voters last night.
Good. They did the ‘right thing’ by allowing a requested exemption of the local library district from their TIF2 district renewal.
Some of you may be aware that the Traverse Area District Library received a solid 75.5% renewal vote for the millage last August. Some of you might also be aware what type of management and board makes up the library. Suffice it to say, the operation operation has in the past 6 years has found efficiency, improved technological services, and better staff competence and ability.
The district as a whole is an outstanding model of how government operations should run. We have addressed the pension gorilla successfully, stopped any growth (for-the-sake-of-growth) plans, and lowered the cost per taxable dollar. Technological services are so advanced, that the library has literally been able to market out some of its advances to neighboring library systems, providing them with value added (and lower cost) services and recovering taxpayer ‘investment’ at the same time.
We have done our part, but still have expenses, and every dollar matters in crafting the best possible response to voter intent.
And some of those who did not vote yes in the last millage made it clear why they did not support the millage. It wasn’t because they had misgivings about tax dollars being used to promote community literacy, but rather as an objection to the way in which that singular philanthropy doubles as a sieve to water ‘economic development’ efforts they have zero interest in supporting.
But with big government comes the sugar for the ants. For all the tax dollars we donate for the elected class to spend, there are a number of said class who believe they are smarter than free markets.
‘Economic Development’ is an industry that is funded by, and fueled by your tax dollars. It distorts natural growth of industries, continually provides unrealistic expectations, and geographically corrupts. The new “Ministries of Plenty” are real. And if you wait long enough, no matter your location, it will find your neighborhood in order to help you too.
An effort to make Traverse City the first “SmartZone” in northern Michigan could bring new technology funding, jobs and infrastructure to the region.
Michigan has 20 SmartZones – or special technology parks designed to encourage economic growth in the tech and research sectors – across the state now. Created in 2001 by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the SmartZone program allows participating communities to create a geographic district in which colleges/universities, incubators and tech firms are clustered together in close proximity to promote collaboration and growth. Companies located within a SmartZone are eligible for microloans and other business accelerator resources, including grant writing, incubator and wet lab space, product development, marketing, technology mining, and venture capital assistance.
What the hell is a “Microloan?” [He asks with tongue firmly engaged in cheek]
The effort to access State and federal funding, grants and ‘free’ cash, special apportionment, and really cool feel good status is the new norm. Who doesn’t want ‘economic development’ in their hood!
A plethora of pinatas waiting to be taken!
We have very few honest brokers in government economic planning. Every effort made to reward specific enterprise with coerced resources is a mark on only one side of the ledger. Each time the rules are changed to provide an advantage to one industry at a cost to those who have nothing to gain directly is a change that only considers, advantages, and ignores ‘other’ effect in other areas.
Free and open markets succeed or fail based on the value provided those on each side of the transactions happening. Intervention by third parties inserts an unnatural expectation into the process, often distorting the real costs and ultimately lowering the actual value of being in any particular industry, while at the same time placing an expense on those who have nothing to do with the economic transactions involved.
So when such SmartZones are discussed in government, it defies objective reasoning. George Orwell, Ayn Rand both used excellent examples of the ridiculous naming of such programming in their works. The hard truth is that their prescience was more accurate than believable at the times those works were penned.
And as we know when it comes to government planning
The word ‘smart’ might better be used as a verb.