Opinion: Letter to the Editor: More Revenue, More Expenses

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: More Revenue, More Expenses

Hardly a week goes by that our city government doesn’t do or say something that is inexplicable. This week, it’s a veritable Two-Fer. First, rejoicing that Amazon will come to town. Our delighted city manager says Amazon will produce more tax revenue. Praise be.

What he doesn’t say is the tax revenue will never be enough. Nor does he say, as Alexandria becomes Amazon-denser and more congested, our tax rate goes up – not down – and our housing becomes more expensive; not less , and demand for evermore costly city services increases, never decreases.

And to be a total party-pooper, it’s simply unseemly to provide any concessions to Amazon, a gargantuan company. Although I don’t know exactly what give-a-ways the state, Arlington County or Alexandria city gave Amazon, whatever it is means less money for roads, schools and infrastructure elsewhere in Virginia, especially in southwest Virginia where poverty and need is rampart.

Second: The utterly baffling city government take-over of the Torpedo Factory Arts Center. Operating any revenue-generating enterprise, even a not-for-profit one like the Arts Center, is not a government mission. Our tax dollars should not be paying city employees to operate the Torpedo Factory. Period. As in other cities, the artists, their supporters and volunteers should run the community arts center.

History tells us no government can operate a revenue-generating enterprise efficiently. If you are a Doubting Thomas, then look at any country from the past (USSR) or the present (Venezuela) where government owns and operates businesses. Closer to home, look at our city-owned and operated bus company and our bike company.

Both are big-time money-losers whose revenue shortfalls are but two more holes our tax dollars have to fill. My suggestion: Get these tax burdens off taxpayers’ backs. If they can’t be privatized, then sweeten our list of concessions by giving them to Amazon. It can use their hefty operating losses as a tax deduction.

Jimm Roberts