The Something-for-Nothing Club is open for business

This kind of stuff just makes me a little crazy. This is part of a mass e-mail sent by Jim Sorvillo, a candidate for State Senate. I am sure Sorvillo is a nice guy, and I’m not angry, just frustrated. Follow along.

It is time for Arkansas to compete for new industry.   My mission as your state senator will be to foster a business environment that will attract new industries to our great state.   For far too long, other states in our region have attracted industry while we have been left out in the cold because of a lack of vision and inaction from our elected officials.   Imagine what Little Rock would have become if we had welcomed the company that became FedEx.

So let me see if I got this right, Little Rock (or maybe the State of Arkansas) should spend $50 million for a parallel runway in order to keep a company with no national presence, and little ability to get its own financing. That was the situation when, according to local myth, Little Rock let FedEx slip away. Memphis already had necessary runway facilities and was not on the hook for $50 million. (It might have cost less at the time FedEx moved to Memphis. I am willing to plug a lower number in the story if somebody is able to document a better estimate. The argument still stands. It would have been the worst kind of corporate welfare.

And while I am on the subject, how much more does Little Rock need to give away on these real estate schemes. The Chamber of Commerce is working day and night to destroy a local neighborhood whose residents comprise some of the most vulnerable people in this town for a $26 million technology park. Nobody knows who will move into that park, if it is ever built. It is just another huge hand-out to the Something for Nothing Club.

In the last nine years, Mississippi has welcomed a Nissan plant and a Toyota plant that has created thousands of jobs.   Mobile, Alabama recently announced Airbus will build a plant that will build 50 jetliners a year and employ 1,000 people.   A few years ago this state lost a Toyota truck plant to Texas.

Oh, my. let’s start with Alabama. It looks like my home town of Mobile is doing quite well, which is good news since, after decades of disappointment, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway did not usher in another gilded age.The website for state newspapers has this bit of background on Alabama’s addiction to corporate welfare.

Naturally, there will be public criticism over the $158.5 million incentives package. The deal includes state and local tax breaks, site preparation, land lease assistance and roadway improvements.

The state provided $253 million in incentives and tax breaks to land the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, which opened in 1997, and $115 million to support an expansion of that business.

The state gave Honda $158 million in incentives and tax breaks in 1999 to build its plant in Lincoln and offered Hyundai about $252 million in public and private incentives for a plant in Montgomery that opened in 2005.

Yes, these corporations – often controlled by foreign interests – hire people who pay taxes. Maybe it would not be so bad if the corporations did not always think that they call the shots. Of course, they DO call the shots and ordinary human persons are left behind.

And, yes, Mississippi is way ahead of Arkansas on car plants. Is that beneficial to Mississippi in the long-term? Time will tell. I would contend that some of this is out of our control. Verizon reduced what could have been a regional headquarters to a call center. HP did locate to Conway. How about Glasfiber and Wellspun? The Southwest Power Pool relocated its headquarters (worth $70 million) with no incentives (but some left-over tax credits). They seem to be paying their own way.

 We must do better.   It is time for us to step up our game and create a better future for all of us. Arkansas needs to lead the way in the fight against the overreach of Obamacare by the creation of a free market, consumer-centered based that allows:

Every health insurance company in America to compete for your business,

abolish mandatory coverage and allow the consumer to choose their coverage,

and  Legalize the formation of buying groups to maximize their purchasing power for discounts.

These simple free market solutions take power from the government, the health insurance industry and give the power to the consumer and will keep the medical decisions for you and your family in your hands.  This is exactly where they should have been all along.

Fine words, but when the ambulance is hauling your throbbing carcass to the ER it is hardly the right time to “shop” for health care. It would be just great to buy health insurance from any number of competitive insurance providers, but that will never happen so long as the almighty dollar rules. Health care costs are insanely out-of-control and the big drug companies and health insurance companies are contributors. What Mr. Sorvillo is suggesting does not, so far as I know, work anywhere on planet earth and there is no good reason to think that it will here. I am sure things would be much better if the political parties had used some of their limitless energy to deal with some of the more perplexing aspects of health care reform (like PECs, for example).

If memory serves me correctly, Republicans led the attack on the local mechanisms under the Affordable Care Act that would bring decision making closer to home. For the sake of balance, let it be noted that Pres. Obama made secret deals with the drug companies and folded quickly on a single-payer system.

I will work to reduce the heavy tax burden–the seventh highest in the nation–and root out the waste, fraud, and abuse that cost us millions of  dollars annually.   We deserve to have our money spent in the manner that is effective, efficient is in the best interest of Arkansas’ financial future.  

One way to reduce that tax burden is to stop giving the store away to businesses from someplace else that may or may not hang around. On the whole, I will say that it could have been worse. Who is Sorvillo running against?





About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

One Response to The Something-for-Nothing Club is open for business

  1. Patt says:

    Jim Sorvillo obviously has not had an original thought in a long time and is doing nothing but spouting traditional conservative talking points. If he would make a little effort to dig into those comments and see the truth behind them like you so ably did he would see he is spouting tripe and nonsense.

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