Letter: Don’t back corporate welfare

To the editor:

I write in response to your recent coverage of The Johnson County Convention Visitor and Tourism Board, (“Tourism board plans budget,” Oct. 12). I wrote in opposition to the creation of this board and the associated innkeeper’s tax when it was proposed. Your recent coverage only strengthens my original opposition and confirms my fears.

This is more taxation and bureaucracy to be suffered as result of our local Republican officials. If local businesses envisioned and received value from such an organization, then a voluntary industry association could have been formed with a fee schedule. These government-mandated industry associations are commonly tools of the politically powerful minority to fund their operations at the expense of the majority who are not. They are also commonly used as a slush fund by officials to reward campaign contributors. This is the product of those without respect for free markets or limited government.

I am not surprised to read in your coverage that the board president plans to promote the Greenwood Park Mall. This facility is owned by Simon Property Group.

According to its 2015 annual report, the group had a market capitalization of $99.4 billion and revenue of $5.2 billion. The annual household income of all residents in the county is significantly less than the annual revenue of Simon Property Group. It is a tragedy the advertising budget of a successful multi-billion dollar corporation will be supplemented by Johnson County.

I do not fault Simon Property Group but only use it to illustrate the point. I fault our elected officials and appointed bureaucrats for picking winners and losers in the market. This is the kind of anti-competitive and anti-free market corporate cronyism that drove me away from the Republican Party. Be sure to thank these individuals when friends and family visit for weddings, reunions, graduations and other functions and they are taxed to subsidize wealthy corporations. This is by many accounts the majority of individuals who will pay for this endeavor.

If your readers do not support this kind of corporate welfare and political slush fund, then I encourage them to investigate the Libertarian candidates for county council and treasurer on your ballot this fall. They are all principled and qualified individuals who will champion limited government and low taxes.

Frank Rossa

White River Township