Private enterprise isn't a government job

Amazon’s current share price is more than $1,400, and CEO Jeff Bezos is worth more than $112 billion. Yet our state bureaucrats and/or elected officials found it necessary to gamble with taxpayer funds and “bribe” Amazon to locate one of its two headquarters in the Arlington area.

Taxpayers will ultimately shell out $750,000,000 in cold hard cash, as well as $375 million in higher education costs as part of the deal. Plus another $15 million to promote affordable housing in and around the new headquarters.

That’s more than $1 billion. This happened because several years ago, our elected officials created the Economic Development Authority.

We now have bureaucrats posing as venture capitalists, finding ways to spend taxpayer funds without any accountability whatsoever. Our local EDA gave funds to promote manufacturing beer; those same bureaucrats invested $5 million to promote an airline to fly out of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport a few years ago. That airline went bankrupt and, in addition to the money already spent, we’re still paying legal fees.

A local hardware store moved to a new location and got a deal for some of its sales tax money to be returned for a limited time. If I move, can I get some of my tax money refunded to me? I doubt it. We also are paying a higher sales tax to promote local hotels, restaurants and tourism in general.

Public employees do not have the expertise to “invest” taxpayer money in dubious projects. Yet, our elected representatives have made it possible for this scenario to exist.

These Economic Development Authorities need to be put out of business. It is not the job of government to dabble in private enterprise. Period.

Robert Simmons

Williamsburg

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