Harbison: The Odds Are Against You

Jim Harbison
If you attended Monday’s Las Cruces City Council meeting it was clearly obvious that the odds do not favor jobs, business, or the citizens. The City Council imposed impact fees on new construction at a time when building trade jobs continue to disappear and their unemployment continues to rise. Even though the opponents of impact fees outnumbered the proponents by about 50 to 1 the Council chose to ignore the will of the people and implemented additional job killing impact fees.
Las Cruces City Hall
 When building trades jobs disappear other businesses are adversely affected. The restaurants have fewer customers and lay off waiters and cooks. Retail establishments sell fewer goods and are forced to reduce both staff and inventory. When inventory is reduced other businesses have to reduce production staff and the vicious cycle continues its downward spiral.

Unemployment is destructive for workers and their families. They struggle to provide food, clothing and housing for their families and are reduced to surviving on various forms of public assistance. Since they have limited income their spending habits change which negatively impacts other local businesses. For more than two years we have heard from all levels of government that their most important concern is job creation. And yet local governments continue to impose every possible constraint to successful job creation. They continue to pass ordinances that constrain, restrict, or prohibit business development and job creation. And yet they wonder why the gross receipts tax revenue is declining or why large businesses choose to locate their operations and jobs in other cities.
These new impact fees will add more than $600,000 to the cost of a Wal-Mart sized store or business. Why would HP, Intel, or a “green” industry want to expand their business in Las Cruces? For the small business owner the impact fees will add approximately $30,000 to the costs of a 10,000 square foot building. In each case long term financing will substantially increases their cost. According to a prominent local developer these impact fees will increase the average new apartment rental by $20 per month.
The Mayor claimed that the fees would only add a few dollars each month to the cost of a new home and that there would be significant insurance savings from improved fire protection and flood control. These statements were refuted by members of the public who deal with investment financing every day and truly understand amortization costs. One Councilor made the comment that we do not need more housing or commercial space and that realtors and developers should go find “green” jobs - how insulting to their professions.
The arrogance and ignorance of this City Council is appalling. Apparently the Council fails to understand that impact fees are only collected from new construction and when you halt new construction you halt collection of impact fees. It doesn’t matter what the public wants because this Council believes the public is ignorant and they know what is best for us even if we don’t recognize it. Their progressive agenda prevents growth in Las Cruces and severely limit its citizens from ever improving their economic situation. It also unfortunately forces citizens to become economically dependent on the benevolence of the City Council.
A truly benevolent City Council would go out of its way to improve the employment opportunities within the City rather than discouraging them. It’s time to elect a new City Council and Mayor who will genuinely be concerned about the economic prosperity and the general well being of the citizens rather than protecting their special interest groups and pet projects.



Anonymous said...

The council ALWAYS ignores what is best for the citizens. Time to think about replacing these deadheads. I wonder how many jobs the new fees will create? Builders will be beating down city hall's door to pay, huh?

Anonymous said...

So some jobs are lost, why should they care? All the councilman have jobs.

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that Las Cruces has signed onto ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives)? It is part of U.N. Agenda 21...a global standardization of environmetal regulations. The city pays dues for the "privilidge" of being governened through the ICLEI charter. Expect more bizarre, irresponsilbe actions by the city council and please research ICLEI.

Anonymous said...

What will it take for the citizens of Las Cruces to wake up, go to the voting polls and throw these morons out on their collective ears? What does it take for people to get angry?

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