'In the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.'
- Abraham Lincoln -

Monday, January 09, 2012

Where Were They When It Counted?

I'll give the boys and girls on the Roanoke Times editorial team credit.  They take the right position on this topic:
Don't rubber stamp economic incentives

After persuading state legislators to pony up $100 million for economic development incentives over the past two years, Gov. Bob McDonnell is back for more this year. His budget includes another $37 million in tax credits for small-business investors, rocket launches, tourism, agriculture, forestry, offshore wind and motion pictures.

The governor said he's still crunching the numbers to show that previous expenditures for job creation were a good investment. Legislators should sift through that data with care.

In recent years, lawmakers have wisely demanded performance-based incentives and careful monitoring of outcomes. [link]
While it may be true that "lawmakers have wisely demanded performance-based incentives and careful monitoring of outcomes," the Roanoke Times in recent years, sadly, has not.

Time and again politicians here in Southwest Virginia proposed the creation of bike paths and hiking trails - to be constructed at taxpayer expense - the intentions for which always had to do with the creation of "tourism" jobs - politicians who were duly awarded with millions to bring those trails to nowhere about - and the Times either remained conspicuously silent on the subject or blindly lent its support to the hapless schemes.

Millions of dollars in expenditures later, we're still waiting for that Roanoke Times editorial that reads, "we wisely demand performance-based incentives and careful monitoring of outcomes."

Meanwhile the region is now scarred with dozens of really neat and well-groomed paths and trails, and one can count the number of permanent "tourism" jobs brought about by their creation on one's thumbs.

So here's to the Roanoke Times editorial page for being right when it comes to government accountability.

If only it were consistent on the subject.