Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ramsey's Chamber Hype Proven False

I am sure that we'll be hearing from the Chamber, the Fayetteville Economic Development Council, and the Free Lunch Club of developers, home builders, and real estate salesmen that road impact fees are bad for business and that taxpayers should cough up more sales tax or real estate transfer taxes to pay for the problems of developers' sprawl.

In April of this year,
Chamber front man Bill Ramsey told us that road impact fees "would be just a killer for economic development and new business opportunities." That bunch of baloney has been shown to be an "untruth" by recent Northwest Arkansas sales tax figures reflecting growth in various cities. I'm not saying that Ramsey told a deliberate lie. It could have been what Steve Rust would prefer to call a "strategic deception."

Here's the truth. Bentonville, which has the highest development impact fees in Northwest Arkansas, saw tremendous economic growth in the past year, reflected in reported sales tax growth of $316,125 -- up 56% over June of 2006. Springdale, which has the lowest development impact fees, saw a drop in business activity and sales tax collections down $125,571 compared with a year ago -- down 11.2%. In Fayetteville, which does not yet have road impact fees, business activity has dropped off and sales tax revenues are down 3.2%. Ramsey's Theorem seems to be operating in reverse, but you can count on him trotting out the same old false claims again.

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