Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ken Jakes to Metro Council on the 40% tax break to Gaylord-Dollywood

I am taking the liberty of reposting the following letter from Ken Jakes to all members of the Metro Council and I am reposting the emails which were attached to Ken Jakes letter to the Council members. Since Ken Jakes has already widely distributed this information I am not considering it a private communications. I am however deleting the email address and phone numbers of "John and Vicky" since they may not have wanted that information made public.

Ken Jakes is a frequent critic of Metro Government and a citizen activist discovering and exposing government corruption and waste. He is a former and probably future candidate for public office.

Members of our Council,

I was asked to respond to the forwarded email so let me share my thoughts and please consider. To say that the 40% property tax on the Gaylord and Dollywood winter park is more then the vacant land is bringing into Metro at it's present tax rate is the wrong outlook. Any development in Nashville and Davidson County that would take vacant land and build structures, buildings, parking, etc. will bring in more revenue then in it's present state. If this is the approach the Council will take on development, are you going to approve on all development of vacant land to only charge 40% of the established Tax Rate ? I'm sure every hardware store, grocery store, and all other small business owners would love that approach, however I don't see that happening.

It is to the benefit of Gaylord to move this project forward because the land is already zoned for this project and to let the property set vacant is costing Gaylord revenues. When you talk about economic development and sales tax revenues that this project will provide, it is nothing in comparison to all the small business combined collectively together in Nashville and Davidson County who are struggling and paying more taxes. Every dollar of tax break provided to Gaylord and Dollywood has to be picked up by the remaining tax payers.

It is right that we can not predict the future, however I believe if we are going to assume, then we can assume if this practice continues that it will be nobody left but the BIG CORPORATIONS. Small business will fall and deteriorate, by being crushed by picking up the tax burden provided to the LARGE CORPORATIONS, because it was better then what we had.

Just for the record, my property at 2223 Whites Creek Pike, was vacant land that had been sitting for years until it was bought and Jakes Produce was built. The property has gone through the Council's process in Zoning, and I can assure you that the Davidson County Tax Office noticed the improvements and charge according to the established tax rate. Sure would have been nice if our Council had said, what the heck, cut the taxes 60% because it is better then what we had.

In closing let me just state the Administration in my opinion and I believe in your opinion, will be seeking a tax increase from the people. How would you explain to your constituents, Oh yea we need you to pay an increase but Gaylord and Dollywood got a decrease in taxes ? Something tells me that this will not go over very well.

I am just writing my opinion, however I believe it is the overwhelming opinion of the tax payers and constituents across Davidson County.

Members of our council, I hope you consider me to be genuine in my thoughts and at least you can state that Ken Jakes leaves no doubt where he stands. I would not care who would see where I stand on the issue. If you support the tax break for Gaylord and Dollywood can you do the same ?

Ken Jakes.
From: "John Murphy" To: "Ken Jakes" Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:54:44 PM
Subject: Fw: No Tax Break for Gaylord and Dollywood.

Ken, Don't have time to respond to this. Your thoughts, maybe you can contact the council and ask them that you plan to expand and would like a tax break for the next 12 years, who knows they may grant it.

John & Vicki Murphy

Original Message ----- From: "McGuire, Sean (Council Member)"
To: "John Murphy" Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 2:04 PM Subject: RE: No Tax Break for Gaylord and Dollywood.

John, Thank you for writing to the Council to let us know your thoughts on this proposal. I really do want to understand your point of view, so please do not misinterpret my questioning it. My main question to you is aren't the property and sales tax revenues from this proposal (although they will be 60% less for 12 years) better than no tax revenues at all? By that I mean, are they not better than the revenue stream currently in place for the property? These property taxes that we are talking about abating would not be there but for this investment/project. I understand your argument that they are profitable companies and would do fine. You may be right. However, would they be able to make such a massive investment if they did not receive the breaks? Could they make it work economically? We of course do not know that answer, but I think it is a safe assumption that the tax breaks truly make the project economically viable. Some may also argue that we shouldn't give these breaks to Gaylord/Dollywood because we may be able to get another project there that would pay all of their taxes as opposed to 40% for 12 years. I would argue that, while that is good in theory, we a.) cannot know if that future project would have more or less economic impact than this project (in terms of overall investment, job creation, tax revenues, etc.), but more importantly b.) we cannot predict the future, and I, for one, am not willing to bet on that happening in the future when we can consider the proposal currently before the Council. We need to weight this project on the merits of what it is, not what could be done in its place. I do look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Best, Sean
From: John Murphy, Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2012 9:08 AM
To: Council Members
Subject: No Tax Break for Gaylord and Dollywood.

Dear Council Member, It seems that every time a large business has a plan to expand in Nashville the first thing that is done is provide huge tax breaks for extended periods of time. Both Gaylord and Dollywood are profitable companies. To provide tax breaks is saying we want to make them more profitable at the expense of every other business and person in Metro Nashville. This is not right! Please do not approve any property tax breaks or personal tax breaks for these companies, they will still be profitable and prosper without any tax breaks. John &Vicki Murphy.

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