The mayor and city council in Midland, Texas, are chomping at the bit to get a skyscraper built where the old court house now stands. It's too bad we don't have a more representative form of local government whereby they would represent the people in the city and their respective districts rather than taking on huge projects to impress the folks in the big cities. I'm probably not the only Midlander wondering what ambition that feeds.
A couple of years ago when they were trying to hike taxes the mayor bragged to some of the tax hike opponents that 60% of the citizens who called him wanted higher taxes. He didn't name any names, but one suspects those callers wanted something from the city. So it follows that they wouldn't be inclined to tell him flat out that they didn't want a tax hike.
In any event, unless I missed it, the politicians are not bragging this time about how the populace is clamoring for a skyscraper. Judging from the letters to the editor published in the local paper those citizens who voice an opinion don't want it.
By the way, one bit of valuable information that got lost in the discussion is the statement from one of the developers that they would build the building anyway in some other part of the city if they couldn't get tax payer money to build it downtown.
Anyway, the city government produced a neat little graphic to try to explain where the $50 million they want to promise to the developers comes from. Click on the thumbnail to get the big picture. There's quite a bit of speculation required to come up with the numbers, but basically they claim that the building will cause to be paid certain sums in sales taxes, hotel/motel taxes, and property taxes. Then they multiply that by 80% to reach the $50 million which will be paid to developers.
They should apply this same logic to those of us out here in the flyover part of the city. But instead of paying us they could simply cut taxes by 80% to achieve the same effect. Unfortunately, those giant subsidies are for the big guys. It's the job of the little people to pay for it all and try to find some comfort in the shadow provided by the monster skyscraper.
The $16 million they want to pay the developer for rebuilding Midland City apparently will come out of hotel/motel tax revenue. That way the city can tell local taxpayers that it was free to them. And return visitors to Midland will be able to look at it and say, "I built that!"