(#289) – We prefer local control and have the law and tradition to support it.
We have great attachment to where we live because its beauty and space gives us the intelligence to understand what is important and what is destructive to our lives.
We are aware that our local economy has been in a recession for an entire generation. Our taxes are too high and local government assistance cannot keep up with the costs of poverty and climate caused infrastructure destruction. Our energy and food costs rise and wages stay the same for the majority. Unprecedented numbers of us have recently and continue to lose their homes and jobs. Our general health index is at the bottom.
We know we must change our economic develop thinking.
However, casinos and hydrofracking are the two largest strategies for turning our local economy around. These are two whacky ideas right up there with the idea that we can continue to pursue growth on a finite planet that is already consuming the natural resources essential for the well being of the next generations.
Hydro-fracking has not provided much revenue in the several years that it has been proposed for local development. It has divided our communities, consumed fabulous energy and intelligence that could have been better invested in the many alternatives that do not sacrifice the natural beauty and health giving services of our environment. If it should come, it will go and leave devastation behind that binds us to the failed history we have lived for decades.
Casinos will bring millions of people here for short stays, thousands of jobs held mainly by people outside Sullivan County, new social costs that surpass local economic revenue, pollution, overwhelming of our schools at the same time we are selling several schools, higher not less local taxes. Most importantly, casinos (and hydrofracking) postpone the building of the sustainable economy. These parasitic industries, dominated by every changing but always majority profit exporting corp-orations, cannot be made friendly to our future.
Let’s take the tens of millions in sales tax and other tax abatements that these uneconomic industries are asking for and spend it on municipal and private energy utilities and smaller installations powered by wind and sun. The jobs, purchasing, planning, control and profits will be local. Our empty buildings will be filled with light manufacturing enterprises. The cost of operating our homes, businesses and local government will be lowered and have a hedge against future increases. Taxes can come down. Our residents will have better incomes and our young adults will find sustainable employment. Savings in local health costs will be in the millions and much suffering avoided.
This is what self-governance looks like. It is also what sustainable economic development looks like – better health, more comfortable homes and places to work, study and worship in, less poverty, more hope and enjoyment of each other’s company and the beauty of our place. Let’s spend on our selves what some would give to others who have no interest in us. There is a job for every one of us in order to accomplish this.