Only time will tell whether TIF vote right for McCook

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Let's hope current presidential candidates and other political figures take the lead from participants in Monday night's discussion of the controversial Holiday Inn Express TIF project before the McCook City Council.

City officials admitted to losing some sleep over the decision of whether to grant $1.4 million in tax increment financing assistance to the $8.8 million, four-story project, but it sets a good precedent.

"We'll know in 10 years whether we made the right decision," McCook Mayor Mike Gonzales observed.

There was good reason to lose sleep. Owners of other local hotels make a valid point about the possible oversupply of rooms and the fact McCook might even lose rooms or entire businesses as a result. A study used to justify the project was flawed, opponents said, and other objections were raised as well.

Kudos to those opponents, who presented legitimate objections in a civil manner.

However, tax increment financing is a tool available to anyone, including existing businesses, who meets basic requirements, and if McCook becomes a difficult place for businesses to grow, they will be tempted to go somewhere else.

There's no guarantee the new hotel will be a success, or that it won't hurt existing lodging businesses.

But local government is at its best when it encourages business growth while still allowing natural market forces to run their course.

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  • "natural market forces" are disrupted when tax breaks are handed out, effectively making the playing field not level for all. Build all the hotels you can! Not against building new businesses, just against giving tax breaks and financial incentives that treat current businesses unfairly. If "natural market forces" indicate the financial base to build the motel, then let them pay their taxes as other businesses are curently doing. If not getting the tax breaks are a "deal killer," then kiss them goodbye! Of course, this is a moot point now, as the "deal" is already done! Now move on and figure out how many $$$$ you can get from taxpayers to support Hillcrest! Holiday Inn Express will not have to worry about it!

    -- Posted by allstar69 on Wed, Mar 23, 2016, at 12:19 PM
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