Matt Primrose 0

Say No to Welfare for Bass Pro

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We, the undersigned, oppose using our tax dollars to pay for Bass Pro Shops' development costs for the following reasons: 1. Hillsborough County can't afford to pay for Bass Pro's required road upgrades. According to the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Org (MPO), our plans for road upgrades and repair are $14B-$20B underfunded. The county admits that it barely has enough funding for critical road repairs. There is almost no money for alleviating existing traffic problems. The money being used for this giveaway could better be used to alleviate some of our current traffic problems. 2. It is unfair to existing businesses. Existing retailers were not given any breaks when they opened their businesses. From day one, they fought to survive in a competitive environment. They paid for all of their own development costs. They've paid taxes and employed people, some for many years. The county and our community have benefited tremendously, as a result. It is wrong to select one retailer and give them a financial advantage, and particularly a retailer like Bass Pro, who is a well-funded corporate giant. Hillsborough County should encourage new business development on an even playing field without giving unfair advantages to one player. This arbitrary giveaway will set a precedent. Other large retailers will expect a handout when they consider future retail development. We certainly can't afford that. 3. Bass Pro may create some new jobs, but the county fails to acknowledge that Bass Pro may end up forcing many smaller competing retailers out of business, killing existing jobs along with tax revenue. We are not against any retailer opening a business and competing, but we should not subsidize that new business when there is a strong likelihood that other businesses will fail as a result, making the promised benefits questionable, at best. Bass Pro Shops should be invited to join our vibrant and economically viable community. If they didn't think it would be profitable, they wouldn't be looking to establish a business here. Bass Pro is a strong, successful retail company. They need to stop asking for handouts and pay their own way. Hillsborough County needs to stop the financial shell game and let all players compete on an equal footing.

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