Huber Heights and Pipeline supporters get creative
Huber Heights politicians have a creative plan to steal more money from Huber Heights citizens and enrich themselves and their cronies. In early December, the politicians proposed stealing $10 million to build a music center at I-70 and Ohio State Route 201. The politicians hope the facility will attract restaurants, hotels and more.
The people of Huber Heights need ask only one question in order to see through this scam: If this is a good investment, why aren’t the advocates voluntarily risking their own money to build it? The question answers itself. The advocates don’t believe it’s a good investment. It’s too risky and the potential return too low for them to invest their own money.
And they have good reason to believe it’s a bad investment. Advocates point to the $6 million Kroger Aquatic Center as a model for this investment, but that facility only earned $550,000 in revenue and $114,375 in profit last year. That’s an abysmal return on investment. At that rate, it would take 52 years for the facility to pay for itself. It will collapse into dust before then. It earned only $1.32 in profit for each visitor. No investor in his right mind would put his own money into such a terrible project. And the same is true for the proposed music venue.
Ostensibly, to study the idea, Huber Heights politicians allocated $100,000 of other people’s money to do due diligence on the proposal. They appeased citizens by not spending new tax dollars on the study. In other words, instead of stealing more money for the study, they redirected money stolen previously to perform the study. As if that mattered.
A week later, the price of the music venue had nearly doubled to $18 million. Talk about inflation. This doesn’t bode well for the inevitable cost overruns if this boondoggle does get built, but it does illustrate what F.A. Hayek called the fatal conceit of central planners: they have no concept of their own ignorance. All the numbers being thrown out by politicians, bureaucrats and other so-called experts are bogus.
Councilman Mark Campbell claimed the venue would bring in $500,000 profit per year. At that rate, it would take 36 years to pay off the investment. Again, that’s an abysmal return on investment. No sane person would voluntarily invest their own money in that project. That’s why the politicians plan to steal other people’s money to build the facility.
Advancing another economic fallacy, city officials claimed the facility wouldn’t compete with the Fraze, but of course it will. People have neither an infinite amount of money nor time. They prioritize which products and services to purchase. They budget. If they see a more desirable concert in Huber Heights, they might forgo attending a less desirable concert at the Fraze they otherwise would have attended.
In January, the city hired Music and Event Management, Inc. [MEMI] – which manages Riverbend and is owned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – to rubber stamp their plans. Since the Huber Heights facility is to be modeled after the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend, they picked the company with the most to gain by promoting the plan. I’m sure there’s no conflict of interest or corruption going on here.
Whenever politicians talk about bringing in revenue for the community, they really mean stealing more money from taxpayers to enrich themselves and their cronies. The Huber Heights music venue is no different. The project will most likely be paid for by Tax Increment Financing [TIF funds], which is a buzzword for borrowing against future tax revenues. The politicians plan to transfer the wealth of the citizens of Huber Heights into the pockets of their cronies, local contractors and corporations which might be drawn to the area, who will then put a bunch of that money back into the pockets of the politicians. The new, subsidized business district will draw business away from existing businesses in Huber Heights. If this project goes through, the politicians and their cronies will get richer and everybody else will get poorer.
Legalized theft for personal gain isn’t limited to Huber Heights. That’s the ultimate goal of every government program. For example, local governments are exercising their power of eminent domain to steal people’s property and give it to a company named Enterprise Pipeline to build the ATEX Express Pipeline across Ohio, ultimately linking Texas and Pennsylvania. Needless to say, the people having their land stolen are unhappy, but the Dayton Daily News inadvertently explains the real reason governments are doing this, “While upsetting some residents, the underground pipelines boost revenues for local governments.” It’s all about stealing more money for politicians, bureaucrats and their cronies.
Profit and loss can only be objectively measured through voluntary exchange, but it seems unlikely this project would be profitable if Enterprise had to pay property owners to use their property. That’s why big business hates free markets. Businesses ally with politicians to use the government’s power of coercion against the people to advance the personal interests of both. That’s why government exists.
The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@daytoncitypaper.com