Thursday, June 22, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Hands in my pocket

The silly political season in London has begun anew. Every year, like clockwork, quasi-public businesses come crawling to city hall, begging for handouts because they're in debt. Sometimes they get it, and sometimes they don't.

In virtually every case, the requests are made with the tacit understanding that the public purse has no apparent bottom. They trot out the same excuses that they bring tourist dollars and other benefits to the city, and as a result the taxpayers somehow owe it to them to fund yet another bailout.

The Western Fair is an amusement facility in the middle of town. It has rides, a horse racing track, slot machines, and buildings that host fairs and exhibitions - usually agricultural, motorcycle and other semi-rural events. It's actually a neat addition to the city - but only if it doesn't bankrupt us. The fair's management asked the city to extend a sweetheart deal that drastically reduced the rent it pays on its site. I got fed up when I found out, so I wrote this:
Not just the fair has money trouble
Published Thursday, June 22, 2006
The London Free Press

I’ve got a bit of a personal problem and I’m hoping the city can help me out.

It’s been an expensive year. When our car conked out in our driveway, we scraped together our hard-earned dollars and headed to the dealer to buy another vehicle. Before long, our dishwasher and television also stopped working. All this unplanned buying is killing our bank balance.

So I’m hoping London will give us a break on our taxes this year. After all, we’ve lived in this city for years, contributing to its economy in so many ways. We buy groceries, attend festivals and take the kids to Storybook Gardens. Visiting friends and family add to the windfall.

Western Fair has asked for similar relief from city council. I think London’s response should be a stark no. Why give the fair a break when taxpayers routinely get none?

Organizations that can’t plan effectively shouldn’t expect routine bailouts. If the civic safety net doesn’t extend to residents, it shouldn’t extend to the fair either.

Your turn: Would you give them the money? When does this endless sucking at the public teat (now that ought to set the search engines abuzz) become too much?

Postscript: The city has rejected the Western request. Yay!


Wordnerd said...

Absolutely, positively NO. Poor planning on the organization's part (or did they plan all along to ask the city to bail them out in a crunch?)is no excuse to burden the taxpayers. Being a fiscal conservative myself, I'm all for bailing yourself out of whatever mess you get yourself into and not looking to any other entity for help. That's what I have to do!

srp said...

NO. There shouldn't be any bailouts of businesses. Let them get someone in there who knows how to make it run with a profit or close it down.

kenju said...

Carmi, unfortunately that sort of thing happens in every city, county and state in the US too. We have a private museum here that has been draining the gov. for 4-5 years, and they just keep asking for more perks. There is a limit people!

Carmi, I hope you'll read and comment on my post tonight.

Tia said...

No. NO. NO! That is absurd! The same thing gets under my skin about the airlines! Why, year after year, must we pay for their inability to run a business? Why do they get to go bankrupt and start over right away? And then, as an "image improvement" thing spend money on "new and improved" uniforms for the flight crew? I want in on this deal. I want a new wardrobe, so can I just not send the student loan payments any more?....

ChaCha said...

Whoa Carmi!! LMAO I love what you wrote, way to go!!

craziequeen said...

Fun as the fair may be, it shouldn't rely on handouts from the city.


honestyrain said...

no. likely not. if i don't give tothe starving children i'm sure as heck not gonna give my money to these fools. :)

here via michele's to say that the cure for things breaking down to is to only own new things that are under long term warranties.

Wordnerd said...

Back to visit...this time from Michele's! Happy Friday to one of my favorites!

bobealia said...

hah! It would not let me post for a long while. Hello from Michele's!
A few years ago, I was working for a city in Canada, and this lady wrote in (with an email name something like saying that her son's tricycle was stolen at a city park and she wanted the city to buy her a new one, except her son was too big for the tricycle, so she wanted a two-wheeler with training wheels!!!
You wouldn't believe what people ask the city for!!!

Lazy Daisy said...

Love your post. No, there should not be bail out...if there is none for the public there shouldn't be exceptions for business. I agree with srp! Michele sent me.

Mike said...

I would not bailout the business. They need to fix themselves up and change there business practices. If they can't do that they need to fold up.

Baking and Books said...

You ask such hard questions! In general I would say no. Unless it was something like that gave back to the community, like a service for victims of domestic abuse or something.

Michelle sent me!


~Cathy~ said...

No... I agree with you and just about everyone else it seems!

Michele sent me...

surcie said...

Well put, Carmi! I'm sure you gave quite a few uninformed citizens pause for thought.

margalit said...

I'm with you, Carmi. No way would I vote for more money for a project like that. I believe some business might need a bailout, but they shouldn't get it at the expense of the schools, hospitals, fire dept, and police. City services come first and foremost and after those are totally funded, then you can look at the business failures.

Here via Michele