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WTA triple dipping funds from Waynesboro tax payers

Posted by Stephen on April 9, 2007

If you are a resident of Waynesboro and have a job that allows you to contribute to the tax base, than you are deeply involved in funding the Wayne Theatre already. If certain members of Waynesboro City Council have it their way, you will pay a third time as well.

You see, state taxpaying citizens of Waynesboro already agreed, through their General Assembly, to provide $500,000 toward the renovation of the Wayne Theatre. Additionally, another $200,000 is being contributed through amendments to the 2006-2008 state budget.

Furthermore, federal taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill as well. Republican Bob Goodlatte has pledged his support to getting pork barrel money from Congress to go toward the WTA.

If you are keeping score than you realize that you are now being asked to contribute a third time, through your local taxes, to a project soon to be owned by a private developer. It seems that it is not good enough that citizens are already paying once, nor does investing citizen funds twice satisfy the needs of those who see taxes as money to be spent on pet projects. Instead, it seems that a third dip into your account is considered acceptable to Nancy Dowdy, Lorie Smith and Tom Reynolds, despite the fact that all three stated publically that the Wayne would not be an issue before council again.

It also seems that a formal resolution unanimously agreed upon by Waynesboro City Council, including Dowdy and Reynolds, stating that City Council would not be a primary funder of any private enterprise wasn’t worth the paper their signatures were written on.

Supporters of the theatre project suggest that because state and federal funds are being allocated for the Wayne that it is only fair that local taxes be used. This is the same philosophy that refuses to acknowledge that tax payer funds are a finite resource. Forgive tax payers in Waynesboro if they choose to remind those supporters that they are already paying those same state and federal taxes. What is unfair is to suggest that Waynesboro tax payers should be expected to contribute a third time.

Supporters of the Wayne suggest that the renovation will lead to a financial windfall for the downtown area. There are no hard numbers to base their optimism on mind you, but the WTA has advanced a business proffer filled with speculative numbers based on their economic model.

What is difficult for many residents to understand is how any business that is going to charge $40 a ticket to patronize their establishment is going to change the face of downtown development. Dowdy and Smith stated during their campaigns last year that Waynesboro needed to focus on family activities in the community. It is difficult to accept that spending a million dollars of tax payer funds on a project that will improve the quality of life for a select few benefits Waynesboro as a whole. For example, Dowdy consistently stated that the teen pregnancy rate in Waynesboro was out of control, but it is hard to imagine that spending a million dollars on the Wayne will effectively addresses that crisis.

Those that see leaders as stewards of tax payer dollars, and those that consider scarcity an important element of a community, are left wondering how government can justify providing a private enterprise with a million dollars while ignoring the private enterprises that have vacated the downtown sector in recent years.

Dowdy, Smith, and Reynolds are set to spend 1 million dollars on a private enterprise they said would never come before council again, after resolving to never use tax payer funds on any private business. Next, Dowdy is expected to support the notion that Waynesboro City tax payers should pay operating costs for the theatre during its first year in existence.

This city council sees no limits on when, where, or how your tax dollar can be spent. Whether it’s $25,000 to publish a book, $200,000 renovating a dilapidated building the city doesn’t even own, or spending 1 million dollars on a private enterprise, this council can’t seem to find a special interest project it won’t support. After all, it’s only your tax dollars they’re pilfering.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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One Response to “WTA triple dipping funds from Waynesboro tax payers”

  1. Donna Kent said

    Excellent position Stephen. Well thought out, factual, and loaded with common sense.

    Just one thing … you need to reach up and take off your blindingly rose-colored glasses. Of course Dowdy, Smith and Reynolds lied, and, of course, Dowdy and Smith were ready and willing to lie, cheat and steal to get elected. No news there. If only the city’s taxpayers could get the kind of return on investment for their tax dollars that those who bankroll city council candidates do, downtown Waynesboro would be a paradise – our ballfields would be lit – and we could have 2 fire stations on the West Side!

    Donna

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