Tuesday, November 13, 2018

We have paid off Amazon to move here; now, put away the bribe money and pull up the drawbridge.

by Rod Williams - Amazon has chosen Nashville as their East Coast hub of operations it was announced today.  While this is not one of the two big corporate headquarters, it is still a big deal. They will invest $230 million and are expected to create 5,000 full-time corporate jobs. I guess it is an honor, but I am not pleased.

"According to officials, Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million, including a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of Tennessee for $65 million, a cash grant from the city of Nashville of up to $15 million and a job tax credit to offset franchise and excise taxes from the state for $21.7 million. (link)" This is how not to do economic development.

In addition to incentivizing companies to move here to the point that it cost more to attract them than the benefit they bring and drains public coffers rather than enhances them,  I don't want to grow.  We should have pulled up the welcome mat about five years ago as far as I am concerned.

I do not understand the penchant for growing bigger and bigger.  I don't want to live in a small town.  I like Nashville's size but liked it better about three to five years ago.  I want the amenities a big city has to offer but beyond an optimum size there, it appears to me, there are diminishing returns and then at some point the negatives outweigh the positives.

Although I don't take advantage of all Nashville has to offer, I like that we have museums, good restaurants, a lively art scene, a good symphony, and good places to shop. However, I want to live in a pleasant place, where you can still find a parking place, where crime is low, where people are friendly and taxes are not burdensome. We have passed that point and are headed down the other side of optimum.

Along with growth comes greater congestion, higher prices, and more crime. More people leads to more social problems. Some will argue that more people will provide the density to have better mass transit. I am not buying that argument. Greater density will make mass transit more likely and increase demand for it, but it will still require massive subsidies and tax increases to pay for it. If you look at the tax burden in almost any large city, it is greater than it is in smaller cities. I am not supportive of bigger government and higher taxes.

I do not want Nashville to be the next Los Angeles, or Chicago, or even the next Atlanta.  Many of these new jobs will not be filled by Tennesseans, but by immigrants from California and New York and other big metropolitan areas fleeing high housing cost, high taxes, crime, and dysfunctional governments. Once here, many of them will want to turn Nashville into a copy of the place they just left. Politically, an influx of people from liberal parts of the country will turn Tennessee into a more liberal state. Culturally, Nashville will change. If not already the case, there will be more Nashvillians from other places here than people from this region. A Tennessee or southern accent will be the exception. We will lose our identity and be just another interchangeable metropolitan city.  Politically and socially and cultural and environmentally, Nashville will be worse for this growth.

We have paid off Amazon to move here; now, put away the bribe money and pull up the drawbridge.

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