Do big box stores count as development? Are they worth millions in tax incentives and bond investments? Maybe we can find something better for local industry and jobs.
Rumors have been flying for years about a Bass Pro store coming to Valdosta, like this one on a Georgia Outdoor News forum:
01-22-2008, 09:05 PM, bear-229
ive heard the land has been bought. very close to the new toyota lot but it has not made it to the “new locations” on the web site
That’s on James Road, in that huge proposed development that Lowndes County approved around that time.
Scott Reeder wrote for The Atlantic 13 August 2012, Why Have So Many Cities and Towns Given Away So Much Money to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s?,
Both Bass Pro Shops and its archrival, Cabela’s, sell hunting and fishing gear in cathedral-like stores featuring taxidermied wildlife, gigantic fresh-water aquarium exhibits and elaborate outdoor reproductions within the stores. The stores are billed as job generators by both companies when they are fishing for development dollars. But the firms’ economic benefits are minimal and costs to taxpayers are great.
An exhaustive investigation conducted by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity found that the two competing firms together have received or are promised more than $2.2 billion from American taxpayers over the past 15 years.
Where does all that money come from? Bonds, usually. Which is yet another reason why last legislature’s HB 475 to give unelected bodies bond issuing privatizing power would be a bad idea.
What does all that money go for?Continue reading