The Bush Administration is at it again, this time proposing to radically increase logging in the Sierras. (Always propose far mor than remotely conscionable, then the public will be more pliable to accept the merely excessive.) As much as the environmental consequences of this plan, what bugs me is the obscene hand-outs to businesses.
We don't charge nearly the true value of the timber (or oil, or mineral ore, etc.), and then we further subsidize the business by constructing roads for it, building transportation facilities, or otherwise spending citizen dollars to reduce their costs and pad their profits. For it, we get the denuded hillsides that erode into our streams, the strip mined countryside leaching toxins, and contaminated air to breathe.
I am a stickler for accountability in economic development. Grants should be almost non-existent. Incentives should be awarded with claw-back provisions. If a government is offering something to a company to get it to do something beneficial to the community, then it should expect the company to do it or pay a penalty. That's the way I have always played the game.
So here's the question. At your own local level, what is your community doing to promote economic development? Are they accountable?