Letter: Governments are weak negotiators
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Results of negotiations between Nike, the city of Vancouver, and the governor's office show the futility and indeed foolishness of government entities dealing with private enterprise. In this case, Oregon won and its citizens will pay for it.
In my former city of Long Beach, Calif., Disneyland played Long Beach against Anaheim for a park expansion. There was never any doubt that Disneyland wanted Anaheim. Long Beach played the game and lost (won in my opinion) and Anaheim pays for it.
When one business receives fee or tax reductions, the other business and property owners must make up lost revenue. The need for the revenues does not go away. The rationale that reductions increase jobs and other tax revenues is wishful thinking, as there is not a reliable verification process.
Government officials are ill-equipped to negotiate with private enterprise. They are restricted (and rightfully so) by regulations and policies. Further, non-disclosure agreements handicap government by reducing leverage created by public scrutiny. Government agencies do more to support business growth by streamlining business permit processes and keeping fees low. If a business investment "pencils" out, it should be on its own merits and not be reliant on government subsidies.
Mark E. Swenson