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Bass Pro Shops: Was County Right to Invest $6.25 Million?

The Hillsborough County Commission has agreed to set aside $6.25 million to repay developers for road construction projects that will ultimately serve customers of Bass Pro’s new location. We’d like to get your thoughts on the issue.

Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan says the math is simple.

The county pays out up to $6.5 million to help a developer build roads that will benefit not only Bass Pro Shops, but also a number of other businesses. In return, it will get nearly $3 million in combined property and sales taxes collected on the Brandon area parcel each year. The land only generates about $800 a year in property tax revenues now.

Based on those figures, the taxpayers will get their money back in only a few years while continuing to see a large increase in property and sales taxes thanks to the development.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner opposed using county dollars to help pay for the road project.

He said he fears the county is turning into a “department of corporate entitlements.”

“I just have a real issue of using taxpayer dollars for a multi-billion dollar corporation to come into our community and use those dollars to grow their business,” Beckner said during the board’s Feb. 20 meeting.

Despite Beckner’s opposition and a stream of residents who spoke against using tax dollars to fund road projects for a development, Hagan’s math lesson prevailed Wednesday.

Board members voted 6-1 in favor of giving the project’s developers the money. (See this related story for more details.)

Do you agree with Commissioner Hagan that it makes good sense for the county to invest in projects that will provide it a return on investment? Or do you agree with Commissioner Beckner that it’s a corporate entitlement? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

MG Watson February 21, 2013 at 08:18 PM
WOW. Amazing how small minded people can be. I am an avid hunter and do this year round. I found myself driving to Orlando last weekend to get the things I needed because our local small shops no longer carry the supplies, because deer season is over. No matter what jobs they create, they are jobs that people need and will apply for. Would you rather the people that are going to work there be on food stanps and us suuport them, or work there and pay taxes back into the system? People always complain about comapnies paying minimum wage, but never complain when they get service from a McDonalds employee. It takes all walks of life to make the world go round. From a CEO to cashier. Greg said it best. We spend 6 million and get that back from Bass Pro in 2 years...not to mention they keep paying taxes after we have gotten that money back.
George Carlson February 22, 2013 at 03:16 PM
It is the Small mind that accepts Overpopulation and Overconstruction at all costs. They would like nothing more than to fill every vacant spot on planet Earth with asphalt and Cement which only creates Very Temporary jobs at best but makes the Developer much Richer. The costs to us are our Air, Water, Green space and ulimately our health and now our Wallet
Gregory Hofschneider February 28, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Mr. Hagan, If it were that good of a location and Bass was willing to invest there, why would 6 million dollars be a deal breaker for them? Just wondering?
Zigsauered March 23, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Don't even leave the porch. You can order and they will come to you. http://www.basspro.com/
Joni Colver April 09, 2013 at 07:28 PM
I believe it is corporate entitlement. Whatever happened to businesses and developers paying impact fees? I am also strongly opposed to tax-funded sports stadiums. Why are taxpayers paying for bills that rightfully should and easily could be paid by the people who profit the most, the investors/businesses/developers?

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