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.