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Opinion: Truth can be stranger than fiction

Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

CORRECTION:

The amount to be awarded as an incentive by Mesa County government to Reynolds Polymer was incorrectly listed in Jim Hoffman’s May 9 column, titled “Truth can be stranger than fiction.” The company is not eligible for a $500,000 incentive as the column originally stated. The first incentive, which will not be awarded until 2016, will total $6,249. Reynolds Polymer will be eligible for an incentive up to 10 years. According to Mesa County Administration, “the $6,249 incentive is calculated specific to Reynolds’ equipment the first year. Incentive value is an annual calculation, based on the equipment remaining in use, assessment (by Mesa County Assessor), and depreciation. Incentive values for the years following 2016 will be less due to depreciation.”

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Truth is stranger than fiction; you just can’t make this stuff up.



A mere few days ago, an article was planned lauding our local companies — including Reynolds Polymer Technology, Inc. Now I find myself puzzled by recent actions, and especially puzzled after learning this local company is the first recipient of the latest corporate welfare offered by Mesa County.

Last week their pointing the finger at President Obama as the source of their corporate woes was commented upon. A few days later they were back in the news. Because they are such a successful company and have grown their business, it appears they are now eligible for $500,000 and possibly more from county coffers.

It seems our county commissioners were nearly giddy at the prospect of giving this “private enterprise” a reward. That “reward” of course was funded with our tax dollars — yours and mine — and appears somewhat inane. Why should we give a growing company money for doing what they are expected to do under a capitalist system? A private enterprise is expected to offer a product or service to the marketplace and, based on the success of such, reinvest in their business and grow.

If we did not provide generous tax incentives, would they opt not to become a bigger and better company? Recently West Star Aviation lost incentives for expanding their business at the airport. We were told that without those incentives, expansion was not possible and potential jobs would not be created. Amazingly West Star chose to grow in the absence of incentives. Certainly Reynolds could and would also grow without incentives.

Within Reynolds Polymer, there are also rumors of a significant layoff that may be in the immediate future. If they downsize, will this tax break be rescinded? Better yet, would they then say, “Oops, we are not growing and cannot in good conscience take your tax dollars”? One would think neither.

Will there be red faces among commissioners should Reynolds layoff employees immediately after receipt of such generous corporate welfare? Again, one would think not. Following the lead of Reynolds Polymer employees, commissioners could merely point the finger at Obama, saying it’s his fault.

It is certainly convenient when you have an easy scapegoat for all economic problems. It alleviates any fear of personal responsibility.

GJ Free Press columnist Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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