by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The print edition of the Asheville Tribune has an article querying what the “real price tag” is for New Belgium. The brewery received $8.5 million in an incentive package from local taxes, but on top of that, the City of Asheville was going to invest $2.4 million in infrastructure improvements. With project creep, the improvements now are estimated to cost $7,754,174.66. Don’t ask how a first estimate off by 300% justifies making the next estimate accurate to the penny. You encourage your children to major in diversity studies rather than statistics.
Anyway, $16.2 million is only a pittance of roughly $200 in tax contributions for each man, woman, and child in Asheville. If we use the argument of the beard as taught in our diversity programs, $200 here and $200 there will never cumulate to the point that anybody would notice a dent in a pocketbook. According to McCredie, over the first thirteen years of receiving incentives, New Belgium will operate at a $1.48 million net loss to taxpayers.
But pay no heed to the man behind the curtain. New Belgium will pay it all back in economic multipliers, just as the other recipients of corporate welfare have been enriching our community. Journalist Roger McCredie puts a different spin on it. He points out in not so many words how if I were to go buy a diamond necklace, I would be a greedy capitalist pig. If a large corporation gets government money and spends it on a diamond necklace, they are creating jobs for jewelers, lapidaries, miners, and the grocers, fuel station attendees, and barbers they visit, and so on, and so on:
Observers have pointed out that most of the $175-177 million figure often cited as New Belgium’s stake in its latest home actually represents the company’s expenditure on itself: land acquisition, construction, equipment, payroll, and other internal costs associated with setting up shop from the ground up in a new location.
The article will probably show up here in about a week.