No surprise here...The WDT has lambasted the County Legislature for Tuesday's PILOT vote and these words will only perpetuate the resentment of the JCIDA towards Times publisher John Johnson, Jr. who they routinely gripe about.
Now let's say it up front. The Times is not without sin. They hired the Syracuse law firm specializing in corporate shirt changes to receive benefits under the widely discredited Empire Zone program. In doing so the Times skated out of a lot of property taxes back in the days when the State of New York was being duped into paying local tax bills on behalf of business owners who maneuvered their way into the program.
Maybe they have first hand knowledge of the bastardization of the goals of economic development by lawyers who are always doing their job...creating ways to gain an edge for their client.
Thought I would point out the Times' sins for those who like to think of Mr. Johnson, Mr Gray and I as some sinister troika of skunks at the JCIDA picnic.
Todays editorial raises valid points about the final deal on Galloo and this $3.5 million community fund. Who's money is it.....Who get's it...How is it doled out....and I might add a question.
Why is the planned donation of monies to charity even part of an agreement with government on taxation ?
Another valid question is where does this take us in the future as similar benefits will have to be given to anyone else making similar requests.
There will be much griping about Mr. Johnson's views in some quarters and with the declining influence of newspapers maybe editorials can be ignored. This one will be.
What I would like to see from media is a thorough and dispassionate look-see at all the inducements given out over time and their approximate value. The Galloo project got a lot of attention due to its size, but the discussion should happen over the practices of economic development.
If it's any consolation, this is a field of endeavor always mired in controversy and scandal. and that's why there is a push in Albany to regulate these bodies. It is the inevitable result of a process where people can get something for free.
Watertown Daily Times | Wind PILOT Approval doesn't answer questions