Well, We Can’t Let Just Anyone on the KC TIF Commission, Now Can We?
I am definitely with Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser on this one. The Star has the story here. The dispute over whether an artist and entrepreneur in Kansas City is “qualified” to sit on the city’s “prestigious” (said sarcastically) tax increment financing (TIF) commission is absurd. Apparently, the fact that the artist currently known as Stretch didn’t know every government acronym off the top of his head is some sort of disqualification:
[City Councilwoman Jan] Marcason said she had to explain to him that the terms MBE and WBE meant “minority business enterprise” and “ women’s business enterprise” and that the city set goals for each in awarding public contracts.
I guess he would have been a terrible bureaucrat during the New Deal. It is also apparently being held against Stretch that he understands the economic laws of labor and prices, and is, incomprehensibly, not 100-percent committed to having the government determine the price of labor:
Marcason said she also was unsure of Stretch’s commitment to contractors paying “prevailing wages,” which means the standard pay and benefits to laborers in the largest city of a county.
Oh, the horror! The last thing the TIF Commission should possibly have is one person looking out for taxpayer value. God forbid that government funds don’t get properly spent placating every interest group in town.
The business community is also unhappy that someone might not plan on going along with the tax incentive gravy train:
Some in the business community say the Stretch and Lindsay nominations continue a pattern of replacing experienced board members on development agencies wholesale with newcomers who at best are unfamiliar with incentive programs and at worst, hostile.
Stretch may or may not have known what MBE and WBE meant, but I wonder whether those opposed to his appointment have any idea what “regulatory capture” means. Commissions like this desperately need independent voices like his.