Two weeks ago, a mystery company (Code name Avalon) came to town dangling 500 new jobs in exchange for a shovel-ready site, planning and zoning approvals (for what no one knows), water and sewer services (good luck!) and did I mention our virgin women! This has become the way of economic development in America’s rustbelt Hoovervilles.
Karl Marx once wrote about how the capitalist pits groups of workers against each other, relying on a reserve army of unemployed workers to keep wages down and benefits non-existent. Today, capitalists are still doing that, but they’re also relying on a reserve army of depressed rustbelt communities just like Cobleskill. It has been called the ‘race to the bottom’. The playing field has become so obscenely tilted in favor of big business, that it is now possible for companies to demand an endless string of concessions from job-desperate regions, pitting one county, city, or state against another, as they go subsidy shopping. Companies claim that they need tax breaks and other goodies, but the truth is, places like Cobleskill need jobs and economic development a hell of a lot more. Companies won’t get very far in America if they don’t exploit an advantage like that to the fullest degree. But don’t worry, they do.
This company will probably demand (and get) some kind of obscenely favorable tax deal where the County economic development agency actually owns the land on paper so the business doesn’t have to pay taxes. Instead, they’ll pay a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for a much lesser amount and we will all find the pathetic number acceptable because they will tell us the amount spread out over something like 20 years.
Sick of lazy, shiftless welfare recipients sucking away your tax dollars? If so, I would point you not to the poor people sitting on porches along Main Street that you normally like to bitch about. Instead, look at the Wal-Mart distribution center in Sharon. The county “owns” that facility for which Wal-Mart pays no taxes. Instead Wal-Mart pays a small PILOT. Over the 20 year life of the agreement, it will save Wal-Mart almost $50 million!
Does this make any sense to you? The Waltons are among the top ten richest people in the world. Now you know how they got that way.
Lancaster Development has a similar deal for its facility in Richmondville on Podpadic Rd. Lancaster president Mark Galasso serves on the Cobleskill Village Board, before which he served as Chair of the Village planning board. Hey, it pays to know people.
Hopefully Cobleskill Village officials can stop their petty infighting and get with the program so they can join in the heaping of obscene amounts of subsidies on a company that hasn’t even revealed itself. By this of course, I mean extending water & sewer lines all the way out to Shad Point, conveniently out to the same area where every little local developer would like to get his grubby hands on a water/sewer hook-up for another strip mall or McMansion development, including Lowe’s. Won’t someone tell the “do-nothing” Village Board to stop their bickering and get that water pumping? Haven’t they been listening to the chamberpot of commerce and the four partners? Don’t they know how easy it is for this mystery company to simply go to another community and demand shovel-ready land, zoning approvals, water/sewer hook-ups, tax abatements and first-born children? I guess they are simply blind to the suffering of wealthy developers and multinational corporations as they pull the rug out from underneath our communities and dictate the terms of our economic future.
Karl Marx was right.