by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
February 06, 2012 10:02 AM | 1093 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Ernest Barrett was a very prescient commissioner who led the way to getting a sewer system built in Cobb County long before our neighboring counties. That was a big factor, among others, that led to Cobb’s development and becoming one of the best counties in America to live, work, and play. Everyone benefited from Barrett’s foresight. Today all the states and most counties try desperately to compete for businesses to relocate here. State and local government’s offer all sorts of incentives, to include tax breaks, land, and various credits. But in the end, someone has to pay for these costs. Instead of selectively targeting businesses, like a manufacturing plant, wouldn’t it make more sense to build better infrastructure, improve our schools, and otherwise improve the quality of life that inures to everyone in the county? Those who consider all taxes as somehow evil, I would ask why Florida, which has no income tax and an overall low tax rate, also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country? They have deep ports, and not just a population of retirees. Could there be other factors that make the state less desirable despite the tax advantages?

Cobb cannot continue to grow without figuring out how to move people from point A to point B that won’t take an inordinate amount of time. What business would relocate to an area where moving product is difficult and time consuming because of the traffic, and where employees have horrendous commutes? I don’t have a background in city planning, so I readily admit that I don’t have handy solutions. All I can do is differ with the many voices out there who think that any tax increase is somehow un-American. In the near future the problem will be much worse, and still nothing meaningful will have been done to address the problem. New York City would be a ghost town if it’s subway system shut down. It is a service that no private enterprise would touch because it would cost too much to make a profit, and if the fare was raised to meet the actual cost, it would be prohibitively expensive. This is a classic example of where the government can provide a service that benefits everyone, even those who don’t use it. I would much prefer to pay a tax that builds the things to make Cobb more attractive to everyone than the ad hoc approach of throwing large sums of cash to individual businesses that has to be made up for by the taxpayers---except that you just don’t see where you are getting stuck.  

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Oliver Halle of east Cobb is a retired FBI agent and has law degrees from The University of North Carolina and New York University. He commanded a Swift Boat in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star with the Combat V for meritorius action. While with the FBI he helped investigate and prosecute members of the Columbo organized crime “family” and later launched the investigation that resulted in the conviction on corruption charges of Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell.

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