Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A matter of priorities in government spending

Today's Blade editorial on the pending foreclosure of the Hillcrest Hotel makes some good points, but misses the major one.

For background, the city of Toledo issued bonds to back the redevelopment of the 'historic' building. Yes, many famous people stayed in this hotel and the building does have architectural and historical value, but was/is it worth the $6.7 million for which the city may be on the hook?

Since 2001, the owners have had trouble making their payments. I guess this point stands out because if you've had trouble making payments for seven years, don't you think someone would have paid attention to the problem long before now???

The major point missed by the editorial board isn't the 'what' but the 'who.' The 'what' is the esoteric value of a historical building. The 'who' is who should pay for it. In the editorial board's collective minds, the 'who' is you and me.

It's funny, but they never even consider that someone other than the taxpayer should assume the responsibility for this structure. They seem to think it is okay for city elected officials to 'risk' our tax dollars in the hopes of success. If they and their publisher are so intent on saving old buildings, why don't they form a non-profit, fund it, and do just that? If the rewards are worth the risk, why don't they risk their own dollars? And just how much is that Block Foundation worth these days?

Just like government, it's much easier for them to tell others how to spend money that doesn't belong to them - namely, tax dollars that you and I pay that should, instead, be spent on essential city services. Doesn't The Blade even wonder about how many roads could have been repaved or police cars bought with that money? Or even how much better off the city would be if those funds had been used, instead, for a new financial computer system???

I guess not.

Frivolous government spending is part of the reason Toledo is losing businesses and population. It's not because we don't have enough historic buildings in the downtown area. It's because we spend limited tax dollars for these kinds of things instead of for the essentials that government should provide.

For years, The Blade has insisted upon public spending for various projects that they think are important...and I'm tired of it. Stop telling us how to spend our money and start spending your own.

5 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

You may have discovered the fundamental problem with the city of Toledo today. The symbiotic relationship between the city, the Blade, and the unions is mutually nourishing; but only when spending OPM (Other People's Money).

The concepts of personal, government, and fiscal responsibiity never seem to enter the discussion as long as there is the well of OPM to draw from.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I disagree with the symbiotic relationship characterization because, from a taxpayer's viewpoint I see it as more of a cooperative bloodsucker-host arrangement, with us as the unwilling victims/hosts...

Carol said...

AMEN!!! (Ooops! Can I say that? Or does that make me some type of non-PCer?)

I'm thinking there are a couple other places in this world that might like my tax dollars. God knows I donate enough of them - as do many, many, many people.

Robin said...

I'm sick and tired of tax dollars being used to pay for crap, like this.

navyvet said...

Given the financial conditions of the nation...the state...and the city, why would the Blade come across once again looking like fools while tilting at windmills?

The public trough is drying up at warp speed. In the city; declining population, higher taxes and demands for more money from the remaining populace must stop.

Get back to the basic requirements of government using funds available. If necessary, start with a 10% across the board cut on expenses. More if necessary, but our leaders must stop trying to fix the car's flat tire while traveling 60mph. Do not borrow at a whim which only shifts the burden onto future generations.

The Blade screams for help for the Hillcrest and of course for court house in Tiffin. What stance did they take when the Paramount Theater was turned into a parking lot? How hard did they fight for it? Or did they close their eyes and wash their hands of any responsibility for its demise? Perhaps for selfish reasons...they didn't care.

It would be interesting to check the Blades coverage and compare it to real estate transactions/transfers in the area at the time. Who benefited most from those transfers?

By the way, I have no facts, just hearsay. It would be interesting to get the answers.

BTW, I wonder how many young adults know of Ameria Eerhart?

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