It’s time to strike while the iron is hot

Craig Hall, Publisher
Craig Hall, Publisher

Got a struggling business? Perhaps you have a startup idea that’s proven it can’t work in the free marketplace. Maybe you don’t like the landscape along the street on which your small business is located. Well, have no fear. The Grand Junction City Council just uncovered the last remaining money trees the Obama administration hasn’t stripped cleaner than a bark beetle in Vail.

Seriously, I’m tempted to take my business plan to the council since it’s obvious they’ll fund anything. All I need to do is commission a study that shows my business success will be important to restaurants and shops along North Avenue, because I’ll have more money to spend with them. They’ll have to fund me. I mean, isn’t that the way it works now, just have a study to sway the votes of the majority of whatever government entity is voting on tax money?

Even in the face of consistent, declining sales tax revenues, our city council decided the Avalon Theater was a good investment. Well, it’s not an investment that will reap a return for its investors (taxpayers). It’s actually giving away our money so some select businesses and groups can have what they want. After all, government is where all too many go to when the free market says things just aren’t working. Just ask GM, Chrysler (twice), Solyndra and a bunch of green energy failures and “nonprofits” galore. Heck, the government even funded a brothel outside of Las Vegas it had seized.

As I predicted, when the government has an investment or some type of ownership in something, money will be spent and chances are money will be wasted. Just remember, a business that was selling booze, gambling and hookers funded and run by the government couldn’t make it.

Please don’t accuse me of comparing the Avalon to a brothel. I’m not, although I do find the process of getting government funding comparable to actions that occur in that type of business. The inference being made here is that government is horrible at making business decisions, brothel, manufacturing, green, theater or otherwise. I believe this for two reasons: 1. When it isn’t your money and you don’t expect a return because even if it fails you are out nothing personally, the decision to say yes is simple. 2. Government business decisions when being petitioned in this manner are always made to benefit certain groups over others. And in the case of the Avalon, those that will benefit will be the Grand Junction Symphony, downtown business and restaurants, certain concert goers and perhaps a few others in the arts and culture crowd.

Let me again state for the record I’m not against any one of these groups, businesses or ventures succeeding.

I want all businesses to succeed. What I am against is funding in any way, shape or form their venues with my tax dollars. Just like I don’t think the city should pick Main Street businesses as winners of a subsidy over business on North Avenue, around Mesa Mall, on Horizon Drive, on Patterson Road, along South Avenue, across the tracks or anywhere. Unless the funding is for 609 North Ave., Suite 2, in which case a hundred grand should sound like a bargain to the council folks hoeing the money tree row.

We all need to remember that as the council is giving away our money to one arena, others will suffer, and that will all play out. Already there’s rumbling from the folks that love parks as Los Colonias and other projects remain in limbo. And trust me, as revenues continue to all, something else will have to be cut. And one of the things that will be cut for all taxpayers is the selection of goods and services of the vendors who haven’t located their businesses in areas that now have our taxpayer subsidies allowing them to remain open over those that will be denied the same largess.

It’s simple folks. Government isn’t fair. It generally benefits those that have access and influence to the elected folks in charge. Here’s a question for you. If you compared the assets, support for candidates, access and influence of the people who support the Avalon versus those that don’t, which group do you think has more sway with the city council? Heck, I bet you don’t even need to appoint a commission.

I’ll go a step further. I’d hazard a guess that those who support the council’s decision have enough net assets to write a check for the whole project and have plenty left over to still live their lives with little or no interruption. But why would they do that when they can fill city council chambers with the vocal, important, cultured few to get free funding for their preferences over the rest of us who don’t have time to attend the meetings because we already know the outcome and our objections aren’t part of the process.

After all, if this was such a great deal for the City of Grand Junction, the Avalon funding would be a loan, not a gift. And it would be written as such if the folks seeking the money were the guarantors instead of the taxpayers.