Friday, December 19, 2008

The Pabst Farms Mirage

I warned against Pabst Farms back in February 2008. Another retail wonderland is the last thing Wisconsin needs to be publicly-funding at this - or for that matter, any other - time. Such subsidization merely realigns spending away from existing shopping destinations toward the newer, shinier destination. A colossal waste of public (and private) resources if there ever was one.

But wait a minute, things aren't going as planned.

I thought this was a slam-dunk economic development initiative?

One of those unstoppable catalysts that was necessary, creates jobs, and spurs further development.

So why can't the developers even sign tenants?

Maybe it has something to do with the duplicative, sprawling, inefficient, environmentally unsound, and bribery-laden path of our urban planning & economic development. Sites compete for capital, subsidizing businesses to locate in less than optimal locations. This increases productive inefficiency, whilst hamstringing the unsubsidized competition. All this slows growth from what it would be without the subsidization. It also decreases municipal tax revenue which reduces the provision of public services (which are crucial to quality of life indicators) and encourages labor force contraction.

I can only hope Obama's appointment of an Urban Czar can correct some of these deficiencies.

No comments: