Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The staged circus of rah-rah in support of the Tweetsie bail-out at last night's public hearing was meant to make the County Commissioners feel elated about their "partnership" plan to save the tourist attraction. Only two people spoke against it, but one of them was Mr. Roy Gryder, whose full statement is posted at GoBlueRidge. It needs to be read and understood by everyone, particularly these couple of paragraphs:
You are now proposing that our hard earned tax dollars be used to rescue a privately owned company that for years has apparently misused its profits, and mismanaged its operation. A company that for half a century failed to prepare for the time that leases on the property they use would come due and is now trying to coerce the taxpayer to pick up the bill by threatening to leave.

To expend tax funds in this manner is an affront to the taxpayers of this county, an insult to business owners that run their business well and immoral in view of the other needs in the county.

This is a dangerous precedent that our County Commission may well come to rue. There are a few other splinters, too, that cause discomfort:
The county will have to borrow money to buy the minority interests in the two parcels of land

The published plan offers no accounting of employment numbers and taxes paid past 2004, and there is no disclosure of profit/loss for any year

Mr. Gryder's statement mentions in passing a further irony behind this piece of corporate welfare, the cutting of county fire department subsidies while a big business gets bailed out.

If the can-can dancers and Tweetsie boosters made the commissioners feel warm and fuzzy last night, well good for them, but for some of us out here there's only foreboding. The commissioners still have to vote on the plan, but it sure enough looks like a done deal.

The commission DID vote to accept the deal last night.

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