Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Free Lunch Club

The Chamber of Commerce front group, led by big developers and real estate agents, held a press conference at the Fayetteville Town Center yesterday. They whined about the proposed road impact fee to make them pay for reducing traffic congestion caused by the sprawl they are creating. One real estate guy even admitted that the proposed impact fees would not be enough to pay for the sprawl from which they profit or the congestion they cause. They had Pam Jones say it wasn't a fee, it is a bad tax that they didn't want to pay.

In the developers' and the Chambers' view, the only good taxes would the ones paid by average citizens who are not causing the problem. It is good, they think, that you are paying a sales tax on groceries to pay off $68 million in street bonds to fix the problems they caused in the past. It would be good, they think, if you paid a real estate transfer tax when you sell your existing home that causes no additional road impact. But, asking them to pay their fair share is a bad idea. They demand to build whatever they want and have you pay for providing the services--a free lunch for the developers.

A group of plain old citizens showed up at the developers' media event. They have the old fashioned idea that
it is the developers' sprawl that is creating strain on city infrastructure, a cost that should be covered by those who are causing the problem and generating the need for increased capacity. These average citizens don't have any money to run full page ads, but they do have a website with information.

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