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Submitted by John Treleaven on

And I guess my main worry is less a failure to encourage and strengthen the local economy than the too amply opportunity to stymie economic development by accident. Local govts in most places are underfunded to a significant degree (even if property taxes are the most secure revenue stream there is). Placing significantly higher taxes on commercial/industrial land, for example, puts an entire local economy at risk, particularly during stressful times. Fee revenue is a silent, if destructive way to avoid property tax increases.
Let us also keep in mind that companies do not ever pay taxes, their customers do so. The political optic however seldom recognizes this as high rates and more fees are placed on "wealthy" businesses who can well afford the burden, until their customers can no longer afford the products. Local governments must be part of the solution to the economic development challenges we all face, not a source of the problem.
Think of a horse pull competition as a metaphor for society. The horses are the private sector, the only source of economic power. The sled is society, and societal costs, which the horses pull willingly. But is it the role of governments to add weight to the sled, encourage the horses to multiply, or to apply technology by adding wheels to the sled?? Too often local governments look for more rocks ro place on the sled...