Published On: Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013

Millions in subsidies to lure Bass Pro Shops to Brandon, Kevin Beckner proves to be a good steward of our tax dollars

In a vote Wednesday, Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 6-1 to subsidize road construction around a Brandon-area commercial complex called The Estuary to lure sporting goods megastore Bass Pro Shops to be the “anchor” of the complex.

Photo/donkeyhotey  donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

Photo/donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

The “corporate welfare” will come to the tune of $6.25 million of our tax dollars. The lone good steward of residents tax dollars was Kevin Beckner who stated what should be the obvious to all involved, “I have a real issue with using taxpayer dollars for a multibillion-dollar company to grow its business.”

Although the vast majority of commissioners see this as an investment that will pay for itself many times over, there are several problems with doing this subsidy.

First, tax dollars should never be used to subsidize a private business, regardless of the promises made–doesn’t matter if it’s a professional football team, a Walmart or a sporting goods conglomerate on the local level. Or subsidizing ethanol, sugar or other things at the federal level. This IS NOT capitalism by any stretch of the definition.

On a more practical level, did the six commissioners actually look at the history of Bass Pro Shops, the subsidies received and the actual outcome of promises made?

In a 2010 report by the Public Accountability Initiative entitled, Fishing for Taxpayers Cash,  Bass Pro-anchored projects throughout the country have won over $500 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies.

However, according to the report, projects I imagine that are similar to The Estuary have turned out not to pan-out as promised. Projects in Mesa, Cincinnati and Harrisburg, PA were flops as noted in the report.

Bass Pro Shop is a real money making operation and if they want to set up a store in Brandon or anywhere else, let them use their own funds to do so, like so many other local companies have done and compete for that economy’s business.

As Bill Place, owner of Ace Golf driving ranges told commissioners, “I don’t have a problem with Bass Pro coming here, or even TopGolf,” Place said, “But I do have a concern that I’ll have to compete with an out-of-state business that is subsidized by our tax dollars.”

If Bass Pro Shops doesn’t want to tap into the massive shopping traffic that goes along with Brandon/Tampa without a taxpayer subsidy, let them go elsewhere.

Its unfair for the taxpayer and unfair for non-subsidized businesses in the area.

Thank you Commissioner Beckner for looking out for the citizens of Hillsborough County.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63


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