Ongoing Feedback

Steven Gardner writes:

Kitsap Sun reporter Chris Henry attended the County Commissioners meeting today and reported that the commissioners were discussing the county’s reliance on residential property tax. Commissioner Jan Angel briefly turned the conversation to NASCAR.

“It’s so disappointing. I truly believe our elected officials have done a
great disservice to our community.”

Commissioners Chris Endresen and Josh Brown offered no response.

32 thoughts on “Ongoing Feedback

  1. Jacob Metcalf has a great comment over on the Bremerton Blog redarding SEED and ISC. You might want to check it out and see if you agree. Also the County Commission approved 25K to go to SEED to help pay for Botkin’s salary.

  2. Jan Angel apparently doesn’t know that ISC/GWS refused to shoulder its share of the property tax burden. See Section 603 of SSB 6040, the ISC/GWS revision to that section offered on March 26 at the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing, and Grant Lynch’s statement that making GWS pay taxes would be “totally unacceptable.”

    Our homeowners do bear a high property tax burden, since we don’t have a great deal of commercial and industrial property to take on a share of the burden. But, Lynch’s organization was adamantly opposed to paying any part of that tax burden.

    Angel does us all a disservice by implying that the speedway facility would have reduced our county’s reliance on property taxes paid by homeowners.

  3. Oh, God, how tiresome this loser rhetoric gets. So loser Jan is disappointed–boo hoo. She just didn’t listen to her constituents, and all the others did. If she wants to be a big fish in a big pond, she should go to Tucson or wherever else she lives. Maybe she could figure out a way to pick up this peninsula and wedge it in between Bellevue and Seattle, then she’d be happy. The name calling such as NIMBY and lefties over our opposition to just this one issue turned lots of us off. We got venom and pipe dreams, not valid promises and cooperation.
    I don’t see GWS/ISC on the Fortune 500 list, nor that they draw those companies to locate where their tracks are. The connection seems to be that Fortune 500 companies use venues like these traveling circuses to advertise their goods, they don’t locate their companies where racetracks are. Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Citigroup call centers that hire thousands, Raytheon, etc. don’t take site selection lightly. They like to locate in tech parks or industrial parks in large established cities near big interstates, near the shipping lanes, ports, big universities that can provide skilled workers. Besides, so many of those big wonderful companies have been outsourcing jobs overseas or laying off thousands of Americans lately.
    When I look around this wonderful prisitne peninsula, I already see the real Fortune 500 companies: Target, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Starbucks. Wish we could entice Nordstrom, See’s candy, Marie Callendar’s, Pepsi, GE, IBM; anybody else could name more.

    Emilie Garcia
    Port Orchard, WA —

  4. Bob and Jake (or Jacob),

    Why is it that in all of this discussion when I or others have brought up the subject about local and state governments sometimes needing to draw in businesses with tax breaks NO ONE from the anti side has broached the topic?

    It seems to be that it just gets ignored. It happens all over the country and in this state. Face it our county is not a hotbed for any tech company to come in and not only build the facility but pay back taxes, and pay for infrastructure, and pay a tax premium AND provide living wages. If they did our consumer goods would go through the roof!

    Would a track and the supporting infrastructure have provided the impetus for growth? Guess it’s a moot point now. Now we as tax payers will DEFINITELY shoulder the burden.

    That is what Jan Angel recognized. Maybe Chris and her lap dog Josh now know this as well, hence their silence…..

  5. Emilie,

    “She just didn’t listen to her constituents…”

    Have you looked at the polling results for southern Kitsap County? She listened loud and clear. Get your wild generalizations straight next time.

    “I already see the real Fortune 500 companies: Target, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Starbucks…”

    Can you tell me how many of these stores brought in out of state money to the tune of $150 million per year? Key word “store.”

    You could not be more off. Why don’t you use all of your piss and vinegar somewhere else. Go yell at elementary school teachers and youth soccer coaches. That may make you feel better.

  6. Lou, it may well be necessary in many circumstances to provide tax breaks; but GWS wanted an eternal exemption from all taxes on the value of its leasehold interest in the speedway despite the fact the leasehold interest would be an income producing asset of GWS. That would be more than a “tax break.”

    The public financing from the state general fund would have been quite a large incentive — roughly half the cost of building the facility. Why wouldn’t that be enough? Perhaps ISC/GWS has a tiny ability to generate its own income, and just cannot afford to build its own place of business or pay ordinary taxes; but I doubt it.

    Would the speedway spark other growth? I also doubt that. Read about the Kansas Speedway and the “Village West” development around it. That community went all out to develop the entire area — and the government is making money only on the developments around the speedway, not on the speedway itself. ISC was given what amounts to a 30-year property tax abatement, since the taxes on the speedway are being used to pay off part of the cost of construction. (But even that isn’t eternal, the way ISC wanted it to be in Kitsap.)

    The development around the Kansas Speedway is strictly tourism and retail commercial businesses.

    Is that what is wanted or expected in the “SKIA” area? Not according to anything planned up to now.

    Would it have developed like Kansas? I doubt it, since no one seemed interested in doing anything like the Kansas experience.

    If you want more retail stores, hotels, restaurants, water parks, etc., like they have in Kansas, you probably need a location other than “SKIA.” You probably need something like Kansas has, with 2 interstate highways and some large metropolitan areas nearby.

    To me, anyone who wants to look beyond the immediate deal being offered (in this case, the now gone ISC offer) in order to find some benefit needs to do more than was done in this case to spell out how that follow-on development will occur. In Kansas, they used eminent domain to buy up the land for “Village West” and then used public financing to develop it — and that’s where their government revenue comes from. They get the property taxes now on “Village West,” and will eventually get the sales tax revenue that is now being used to pay off the development costs.

    Nothing like that was put forward as a possibility in Kitsap, so the ISC offer remained the principal focus — and it stank.

  7. Lou- Tax breaks are different that NOT paying taxes at all. If ISC could offset the costs to the county by insuring that the revenue stream would exceed the losses, then there would have been a deal. The reason the Legislators wanted guarantees is because ISC was getting them. It is incumbent on new businesses that get tax breaks to provide jobs and a steady revenue stream. Selling out hotels in Seattle and Tacoma would not have made life better in Kitsap county. At least acknowledge what Mr. Meadows has attempted to explain OVER and OVER! You guys don’t want details. The details are ugly and make your arguments pretty weak.

  8. Mr. Bronson, I can guarantee you that Jan Angel “heard” me, but she damn well didn’t listen. I’m a constituent, are you?

  9. I know that NASCAR in Kitsap is dead, but I do remember reading about that Toyota was possibly looking at putting a truck plant in the Northwestern USA.

    I think SKIA would be perfect, and would be able to use existing infrastructure and rail (to Grays Harbor for raw materials shipments) already in place or planned.

    Has anyone else heard this?

    I moved to the NW from Texas, and when Toyota built a multi-billion dollar truck plant in San Antonio, not only did thousands of folks get hired on to well-paying jobs, it also spawned hundreds of cottage industry companies that make parts for the trucks. San Antonio was not in desperate need of a huge factory, considering it is a call center and tourism mecca, but Toyota went ahead and built a plant there after working in partnership with city and county officials.

    Why don’t we start asking our leaders to let us know about Toyota, and maybe becoming a squeaky wheel to generate that interest?

    Just a thought…

  10. Rich and Bob,
    I acknowledge the facts that Bob has presented and I don’t dispute your arguments on ISC’s attempt to forgoe tax payments as they apply to any other business. And I understand your positions on the tax issues. My assertion however is that the money that ISC/GWS would not have paid in taxes would have been funneled into infrastructure costs, upgrades and maintenance (including sewer, electric, gas, etc.) for the Track site, to which the services would have also provided intial infrastructure for any possible business development interest that would (or may) have occured adjacent to the track site. They (any potential businesses) could have even been charged an impact fee to hookup to said services putting money back into local coffers therefore replacing the tax money not being gathered from the GWS PSA. Trying to say that ISC would have pocketed that money as profit is pure conjecture. Again, there have been no other offers out there to even get the ball rolling as ISC proposed. And as far as I am concerned allowing ISC to not pay the leasehold taxes, etc. so that the money would be put back into the site is a fair trade for boosting the sites appeal to any future investors. Without that, we, the tax payers will shoulder MORE of the burden to develop the needed infrastructure IF we want the SKIA to come to fruition.

    And Rich to infer that I don’t pay attention to the details would be a mistake. I do, and I think I understand them quite well. We just differ in what we are willing to allow in order to promote growth. And BTW those 10,000 jobs you keep talking about are mostly service related. Not exactly the kinds of wages that will keep our youth here or feed and house a family.

    As for the assertion by some that ISC just wanted to pocket the money and leave us with a paved hole in the ground smacks of conspiracy theories. Boy, if I had all of that money they supposedly have then I wouldn’t mind investing 160 million for a net profit of a few million a year. Sounds like something an uneducated redneck would do…..

  11. BTW my the last paragraph in my last statement was toungue in cheek refering to ISC’s investment not the Bond holders investment. Just wanted to clear that up before I get attacked.

  12. I thought that the leasehold excise taxes were aproximately the same as property taxes?

    Steven Gardener?

    My understanding was that they would negiotiate with the Fire District for emergency services so that they don’t have to deal with the unpredictability of property taxes on a 950 acre facility.

  13. Lou, I appreciate your comments, no attacks here. I apologize for assuming that you weren’t paying attention to the issues (or Mr. Meadows calculations) I think we agree that ISC would be millions ahead with the deal they wanted from the State, right? They would continue to be money ahead because they wouldn’t be paying property taxes also. So, at what point does Kitsap county(not the state) begin to make money from the track? This is where we start to disagree. ISC is publicly traded, so their financial health is public knowledge and available. NASCAR isn’t. Mr. Bronson, I am not, nor will I ever suggest that my voice is the only one. I will say that as far as I’m concerned, Jan Angel was not concerned with my objections, not even for a second.

  14. Carlos — great positive idea–that’s what we need here, something like a tech park, a call center or industeial park for a truck plant, etc, that will employ thousands and development of improved transportation to the Grays Harbor port to make this area attractive to those Fortune 500 companies that prefer to site near interstates and large metropolitan areas,

    AND, MR. BRONSON— we need someone that would offer a better deal than ISC did as Mr. Meadows says, who also pointed out that the track in Kansas has only generated more retail businesses (i.e. STORES). I wouldn’t mind giving reasonable tax breaks to an enterprise that would provide thousands of jobs for our community. ALSO Mr. Bronson— what makes you think that I am the type of person that would yell at coaches or teachers? I would never do that. What a crazy statement. I support our local schools, fire departments, police officers, etc., but I won’t support a circus-like enterprise that wants to shove a bad deal down our throats. I’m feisty, but I am not unreasonable and mean. What I told you about the ISC is the truth, you don’t like to hear it, and you flew off the handle and resorted to “yelling” at me and telling me not to say anything. I have as much right to make statements as you do. I consider the source. Also, it looks like enough of us took the time and trouble to deal with our legislators and commissioners in a reasonable manner and they listened. Obviously, your side was not reasonable. Don’t blame the opponents of the track or our legislators for ISC leaving Kitsap–blame yourselves. You don’t know what is best for this community. It is not a “wild generalization” that all legislators and commissioners but one listened to reason.

  15. So, no change in direction here as to the comments?

    Still curious if anyone else had heard the Toyota bit.

    Just wondering…

  16. Lou,

    It’s hard to say how the infrastructure costs would have eventually been resolved.

    ISC started out wanting to use the admissions tax revenue to pay their share of infrastructure.

    At the end, ISC still held out hope that they could negotiate with the PSA and county to use that tax revenue to pay their costs.

    But, consider this inescapable fact of life: The infrastructure costs that are ordinarily the responsibility of a developer under existing law are not all the costs. Some is still left for government to pay.

    So, assume that ISC could be finally beaten down to the point that they didn’t get to use other people’s money to pay their own share of infrastructure costs. Then, where would the government get the money to pay its share?

    That is why the county paid so much attention to infrastructure costs and ISC’s share of them.

    It is why the county fought so hard to prevent having its admissions tax revenue taken away and given to the PSA. That admissions tax revenue would have been one source the county could use to pay part of its share.

    And, where might the county turn for the rest of the money it needed for infrastructure? One obvious source would be the leasehold excise tax, but ISC wasn’t going to pay that tax (except based on its below-market rent, which would set its total tax liability at about $60,000 a year.)

    ISC would not put one dime more into infrastructure than they were required by law to spend. ISC made a big effort to change the law to try to avoid paying even a penny of those costs using their own money.

    All taxes avoided by ISC would go immediately to the bottom line as profit — unless you could make it a legal requirement that they couldn’t wiggle out of to pay the ordinary share of infrastructure costs just like everybody else.

  17. Coby,

    Go back and read the “Two Taxes” entry and comments.

    Under the terms offered by ISC, “payments in lieu of leasehold excise taxes” would have been made — which is far, far less than the “payments in lieu of property taxes” that the fire district was able to get into the bill’s language.

    The fire district (and other taxing districts) wanted the equivalent of property taxes.

    ISC wanted to pay even less than the ordinary leasehold excise taxes.

    While property taxes and leasehold excise taxes would usually be similar in amount under existing law, ISC was trying to get its bill enacted with language that would reduce its tax liability nearly to zero.

    When it looked as though they couldn’t avoid all taxes, they walked away in a huff, complaining about those mean, rotten, nasty people in Kitsap who wouldn’t give them everything they wanted and some more to boot.

  18. Emilie and Carlos –
    I tried goolging “Toyota plant in Pacific Northwest” and got zero hits. I don’t think you would want them anyways, at least not based upon the comments regarding the track. They will want tax subsidies, are anti-union, and will likely produce something that isn’t a Prius at the plant. Those would qualify as the three strikes that would make Jacob, Mary, et al oppose such a facility.

    Personally, Toyota is bad for America over all. They have helped force American automakers to raise their quality standards, but currently every car bought from Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, etc. supports companies that take advantage of unfair trade practices, non-union shops, and a supply base that is not American. Every American should realize the negative impact that foreign automakers have on our economy, and the fact that US automakers are now on par or beat their foreign rivals in cost, quality, and value. Much of the gap is now perception, not fact. A good place to start is http://www.levelfieldinstitute.org/

  19. To entice a company like Toyota to build a plant would require, wait for it..wait for it, significant tax breaks just like the ones ISC asked for. Will the same vocal opponents of ISC be the same vocal opponents of Toyota? Most like not, but then again and that would be put them in a certain category. Anyone care to take a guess?

  20. Emilie,

    If I was yelling at you I would have used capital letters.

    You and your folks (but not all) dealt with legislators by peddling fear and misinformation. You were protecting retirees and the rich. It was a bad deal for you because it may interrupt your precious elitist life style for seven days a year. You were NOT protecting the folks who really need economic development in southern Kitsap County. I hope you plan on volunteering at one of the many charitable organizations in Bremerton to offset the disservice you did to the community.

    Good Day

  21. Mr. Bronson — Have you no shame? You don’t know anything about me. You seem to like putting words in people’s mouths, and painting false portraits of them. What makes you think I am for the rich? Or that the reason we all opposed the track was that we don’t want our “precious elitist lifestle interrupted”? What an insulting, vicious statement, completely ignoring that it was the deal that was the focus, the deal that our local government saw through.

    I, like Carlos, came from the Southwest. I worked hard for what I have, and I want the same opportunities for everyone here. My people lost their land through bad deals with invaders and a new government that wouldn’t listen. It took us generations to recover. That is the way I saw ISC, wanting us to give them everythihg in exchange for beads and false treaties that would soon be broken.

    I want an enterprise here that will bring thousands of good-paying jobs, not the measly offers and pipedreams that ISC proposed. And you, sir, are peddling fear and misinformation by saying that there will be endless lines at food banks, etc. just because we saved our community from a bad costly deal. My people survived lives of deprivation that you could not even imagine, but we always found a job to feed and clothe us and give us shelter, no matter how humble, and so can everyone else, except the very young, the very old, and those that are ill through no fault of their own, and to those I give charity.

    Emilie Garcia
    Port Orchard, WA —

  22. “I hope you plan on volunteering at one of the many charitable organizations in Bremerton to offset the disservice you did to the community.”

    Is there a new requirement to buy “diservice offsets” now?

    With all the offsets that a person has to buy nowadays (beef offsets, carbon offsets, fat offsets, nuclear waste offsets, cow waste offsets, etc.) I can’t keep up.

    Does the Gore Offset Co. sell a lifetime “Living on Earth Offset”? Something like a lifetime pass to Disneyland or the Zoo. Then we could just get on with life!

  23. Emile,
    Please, don’t worry yourself about the characters on this blog. You are obviously too good of a person to pay any attention to this group of yahoos.

  24. What’s elitist is kicking around a legitimate business after inviting them up here in the first place.

    This would have been a great deal for Kitsap. And it was a lot of people’s elitist attitudes about “these people” that set off so many people.

    I mean it was going to be 2-3 weekends out of the year! Get a grip people, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

    Emilie, if you obviously don’t fit into that generalization we obviously aren’t talking about you.

    And I don’t think that anyone said that it was going to be a disaster is Kitsap turned away NASCAR. I think that people have said that it was a good deal, and that it might be difficult to attract other new business after the way that it went, but no one was saying apocalyptic things like you are talking about.

    Any mention of poverty was in reference to existing poverty.

  25. Emilie: Thank you for your post and engaging in the debate. Please do not let others deter you from an open discussion with members of your community in an attempt to find common ground.

    Minimum wage service industry jobs are not a solution for Kitsap County. Opponents to the proposal from ISC like to point out that it would not have, in itself, brought permanent high paying jobs to Kitsap. But they forget that there is more than one way to bring money in and benefit a community. In lieu of wages, workers at the track during events would have earned a significant amount of money for various local charity operations. Money that would have gone directly to help Kitsap County residents. Not to mention that several days before the race itself, many drivers come into town early to host charity auctions and visit local Children’s Hospitals. They also work very closely with the Make a Wish Foundation making as many wishes come true as the possibly can. By already being in the community for the race they can help keep costs to Make a Wish down by visiting the children in their local environment instead of having to fly them to another part of the country.

    You are right with your example we should work to help others in our community. Turning away business opportunities in a way that offends an entire cross section of the country and makes us look like we can’t handle big business proposals is not the answer.

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