Governor Deval Patrick's decision to steer $10 million in economic development funds to the private Columbus Center complex has angered House Democrats who have repeatedly refused to support the controversial and increasingly expensive development with taxpayer money.
Patrick administration officials and Wilkerson defended public investment in a project that developers say will create thousands of jobs and rejoin two of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods, the Back Bay and South End.
Some members of the House are opposed because they feel the money is either being used inappropriately or they don't feel as though we should subsidize profit margins. I could get behind that. However, each and every House member has - at some point - voted to subsidize the profit margins of private companies. Whether they're voting to give research grants to Harvard or unfair tax breaks to Verizon, they do it year in and year out.
Government subsidies have been a part of the United States way of dealing with things since, well, longer than any of us have been alive. Sometimes, as with the Farm Bill, those subsidies are bad: huge, very profitable corporations don't need to be paid money to grow more corn than we could possibly use. Some subsidies are good: I rather like the idea of never having to worry about getting MS, diabetes or any number of the dozens of things stem cells could potentially cure.
The question is if this development - one that would link together the Back Bay and South End, whilst reportedly creating hundreds of jobs - is worth subsidizing. Will it be worth a $10 million dollar investment by the state over the long haul? Will it be completed if we ddn't give subsidies? The Globe doesn't answer any of those questions. They're much more interested in the drama of it all.
Right at the top of Andrea Estes's article, she quoted Representative Martha Walz.
"The developer is asking the taxpayers to subsidize his profit margin," said Representative Martha M. Walz, a Democrat who represents the Back Bay. "That is offensive to me and not an appropriate use of our tax dollars. We don't pay taxes to make developers richer."We don't subsidize profit margins? The bottom line is that, for better or worse, that's categorically false. Just picture how false that is when you imagine what this state had to go through to keep the Patriots here. Does Walz support all the tax breaks we dole out to entice private, for-profit businesses to come to Massachusetts? Is she against Governor Patrick's Municipal Partnership Act, the one that would end some of those major tax breaks - which are essentially the same as subsidies. Is she voting for giving out grants on stem cell research?
There's no doubt that we give too many subsidies and tax breaks to huge, profitable corporations. However, we'll never learn whether or not the project is worthy from the Boston Globe - they were too preoccupied with the he said, she said battle going on to weigh just how advantageous this project would be for the community. Fact checking is just so difficult nowadays - and really, who wants to know about the facts anyway there's a he said/she said to report.