Collins’ Food Stamp Cuts and Welfare for Billionaires

In September, Representative Chris Collins voted to cut $40 billion from the American food stamp program, which helps to feed underprivileged and poor Americans.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the House legislation would deny benefits to 3.8 million Americans next year and save $39 billion over 10 years, or roughly 5 percent of the SNAP program’s cost in that time. Enrollment doubled to 47 million in the wake of the Great Recession as incomes plummeted and more Americans qualified for benefits, which average $133 per month. Most beneficiaries are children, elderly or disabled.

Buffalo’s Delaware North is estimated to earn about $2.6 billion this year. The Buffalo News writes that Delaware North is looking to move its downtown Buffalo headquarters a few blocks over

Delaware North is asking for an exemption of $807,000 in sales tax for building materials, but it has been questioned by some critics because Delaware North is a global company with $2.6 billion in revenues. However, Richard M. Tobe, deputy county executive and chairman of the ECIDA’s Policy Committee, noted Thursday that the request is consistent with what ECIDA typically approves.

But the larger plan has faced heavy opposition because of the unusual nature of the tax assistance that Uniland, in particular, is seeking. Besides sales and mortgage tax breaks, the developer proposes paying full property taxes but diverting a significant portion of them to finance a five-level parking ramp and then getting reimbursed by the state because Uniland says the property qualifies for special brownfields credits.

Mayor Byron Brown and Representative Chris Collins wrote a letter together, urging the Erie County IDA to hook Delaware North up with some tax breaks: 

Byron Brown’s and Chris Collins’ letter to the Erie County IDA

//www.scribd.com/embeds/182622891/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

So, Chris Collins opposes feeding the poor, but supports tax subsidies for billionaires to relocate to a new building a few blocks away, under threat of departure. 

Frankly, I think it would be tragic to lose Delaware North, but the chutzpah here is unbelievable. He’ll shut down the government to make sure you can’t get affordable, quality health insurance and then pretend he didn’t do just that. He’ll take food from the hands of the underprivileged and poor to help subsidize a billionaire. 

$807,000 is 0.031% of what Delaware North pulls in per year. These tea party princesses all think that charity should replace welfare. Maybe Collins can cover this out of his own pocket. 

Corporate Welfare

Amazing, isn’t it, that corporate welfare through Industrial Development Agencies is so ingrained in local business culture, that it is tantamount to a profile in courage for Clarence’s IDA to consider rejecting providing such welfare to a Mini dealership that wants to relocate from one side of Main Street to the other. 

The IDA culture in western New York is like belonging to a very exclusive country club. The IDAs are made up of politically connected people who decide whether to give handouts, loans, tax breaks, and incentives to people and businesses who are also politically connected. Because the IDA system in western New York is a prime example of disunity and lack of regional vision, IDAs too often poach businesses from one part of WNY to another, or else – as here – simply use public money to subsidize a successful business’ expansion within the same town. 

If Towne Mini is doing well, then let Towne Mini finance its own move. If its expansion is going to make it so much money that sales taxes alone will amount to $650,000 per year, then make sure there’s not a lot of red tape in the way of construction and be done with it. 

But it’s high time that our quasi-governmental corporate welfare entities banded together for the industrial development of western New York as a whole, and stop selectively granting tax breaks to one German-English automotive marque over any other. Ryan has been beating the IDA reform drum for some time, and handing tax breaks to assist a BMW subsidiary to move to bigger digs across the street hardly sounds like a good idea. Let Mini pay for its own expansion, and beware of other towns’ IDAs looking to offer Mini better deals to move to Amherst or elsewhere. 

IDA Report – Assemblyman Sean Ryanhttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/75676457/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-p407dtjcd99ij974twf

As for Clarence’s IDA, the website is woefully out of date, with the last agenda and minutes entries dating back to mid-summer. Perhaps some more transparency and information would be welcome. 

Corporate Welfare King Complains About Socialism; Obama Looks Forward

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama gave a speech in Virginia where he somewhat clumsily made the assertion that even self-made businessmen didn’t get successful on their own. They had teachers who inspired them, firefighters and police who protect them, roads that help them engage in commerce, and that ours is a society in which we are somewhat interdependent on each other; i.e., “government” to help private enterprise thrive. It is thus everywhere, despite the current fad among some to denigrate government and everything it does. Fox News is, naturally, at the forefront of this phony nontroversy, even trotting out a couple of little kids to discuss how N0bama is nationalizing their lemonade stand, or something. 

So, Mitt Romney – who purports to be a self-made businessman, facts notwithstanding – put out this ad: 

Jack Gilchrist, the New Hampshire business owner Romney features in that ad, is right out of Republicanland central casting. He whines that the President is “demonizing” people like him, who, with his father, built his business, “through hard work and a little bit of luck”. Also, the black Kenyan guy doesn’t “believe in America”. So, there’s that. 

Yet Jack Gilchrist didn’t just get where he is thanks to hard work, luck, teachers, roads, and civic protection services. He also got there thanks to thousands of socialist government dollars

In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report at the time…

Last year, Gilchrist Metal also received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008, according to a government web site that tracks spending.

Gilchrist also is a recipient of an SBA loan of about $500,000, with matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.  In other words, Gilchrist got where he is thanks to hard work, a little bit of luck, and over a million dollars in federal and state corporate welfare. Out of all the businesspeople available in the country to use to send this message, Romney’s campaign didn’t even adequately vet their Obama-hating generic middle-aged blue-collar rich guy. 

By contrast, in the wake of the Aurora shootings, the Obama campaign took the opportunity to speak frankly to the American people about what’s really at stake in this election, and he also directly addressed Romney’s clumsy rejection of civic society: