A simply amazing story came out of Missoula last night, discussing income inequality.
Mainly, a bunch of veterans mobilized themselves to go down to the Missoula City Council last night. Boy, did they give those liberals an earful!
The main idea was TIF money, and how this “fattens the pockets of wealthy developers at the expense of lower-income citizens.” Mostly, they’re angry about the latest news that Nick Checota will get at least $16 million in taxpayer money for his new hotel.
One Missoula-native veteran named Brian Miller explained how another veteran he knew ended up getting his hours cut at work. He felt desperate, and finally killed himself...despite having a new baby at home.
“You know who he was working for at the time of his suicide?” Miller said. “Our beloved Wisconsin millionaire, Nick Checota.”
Here are some more highlights from last night’s meeting:
“Veterans return home, he said, “only to find our communities have been sold to the rich by our civilian neighbors.”
“Before you thank me for my service,” Miller said, “think about how you may be contributing to the epidemic of suicide through the use of tax increment financing.”
Brandon Bryant, who was a staff sergeant in the U.S. military, traces his Missoula roots to his grandparents. “My grandfather led the Hellgate High School wrestling team to its only championship,” he said.
Bryant called for an investigation into the ethical conduct of the City Council and the mayor “and anyone else promoting the TIF projects going on in this city.”
The use of tax increments, he said, are “in violation of the community trust and the legacy that my grandparents and my family put into this town.”
“TIFs lie at the very heart of what Bernie Sanders means when he talks about privatized gains and socialized losses,” West said. “As we all know, if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem tends to look like a nail. And the Missoula Redevelopment Agency continues to smash the community of Missoula apart with the overwhelming destructive power of tax increment financing.”
Like I said...wow!
The young veterans left the meeting after their comments, and a half hour later the Council offered some half-assed combination of support and rebuttal.
What will happen after this?
I think the answer is obvious:
- The Council will forget these veterans and what they said.
- They’ll go full-steam ahead with the plans to give Checota $16 million in taxpayer money while handing him a 75-year exclusive contract to book acts at the new hotel.
- And of course they’ll clamor for their local option sales tax, er...sorry...the tourist tax.
That’s the whole idea behind approving all these new hotels and convention centers, and getting them built as soon as possible.
By doing this, the Missoula powers-that-be are making it easier for them to argue that more and more tourists are coming here, and therefore we need to tax everyone’s sales to ‘benefit’ from this influx.
Sometimes they argue they’ll lower property taxes when they implement the local options sales tax. I don’t believe this for a second.
What I do believe is that they’ll take the new money and spend it like a drunken sailor, probably giving much of it away to private developers from out-of-state...developers that pay such low wages coupled with such a lack of hours that some of their workers actually kill themselves.
The only silver lining here is that Montana is a red state, and our legislature will be controlled by the GOP for years to come, if not the complete decade of the 2020s.
This means that even if local politicians support a sales tax, they won’t get it through the legislature and they surely won’t get it signed by the governor.
So it’s a pipe-dream.
- Property taxes are going to keep going up here in Missoula for years to come, because the powers-that-be have no other income source.
- A sales tax will always be on the agenda, mainly to make up for the lost tax income from businesses that the city seizes.
- And of course, young people like those veterans last night will never be able to afford a home here, and perhaps not even an apartment.
The liberals gnash their teeth over their inability to get anything through the legislature, but that’s good.
We see what they do with any extra money they have: they give it to rich out-of-state developers that pay poverty-level wages, wages which sometimes drives their workers to kill themselves.