Taxpayer Subsidies to Private Business

In a recent AZCentral article on the primary election, Jim Lane refuted accusations that he’s been giving taxpayer money to cronies.

“This is an issue I’ve been diametrically opposed to on the record for the last eight and a half years,” Lane said.

“In every case, we weigh the value for value,” Lane said. “We do not do any subsidies to individuals.”

It would have been nice for the Republic to that assertion a little bit rather than just printing it press release-style. After all, I’ve been fighting against this sort of thing for years. All they had to do was ask me…well, I have to give them credit: They DID ask me…but then they didn’t dig any further.

But Washington distinguished between certain types of subsidies for developers and handouts in general.

“This careful nuance of language essentially restricts the statement to outright cash subsidies, or sales-tax rebate-type subsidies to developers,” Washington said.

“This is absolutely a noble goal,” he said. “However, subsidies can include many other things, including zoning concessions.”

Washington cited the city’s roughly $4 million annual payment to the Scottsdale Cultural Council, $75,000 for marketing a polo match and $2 million for the McDowell Mountain Golf Club improvements as examples of what he believes are city-backed subsidies.

I guess that’s what passes for journalism at the Arizona Republic. I don’t blame the writers; I blame their editorial process.

Thankfully, the Phoenix New Times occasionally pays attention to such things. In a PNT article the writer exposes the recipient of one of these non-subsidies as Jason Rose. So much for even the notion that this taxpayer money isn’t included in Lane’s statement,”We do not do any subsidies to individuals.”

Incumbent candidate Suzanne Klapp voted for this one, too.

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