To the editor:
I have to take exception to the Mark Fagan article in Tuesday's Journal-World, "Report reviews tax breaks." Aside from the fact that eight of the 14 paragraphs in the article were devoted to the rosy interpretation of the 2006 Tax Abatement Report and only three to the critical view by professor Kirk McClure, the story did not explore why the quoted PIRC members disagreed.
It seems to me the potentially most valuable information the story could have provided to Lawrence taxpayers was left untouched. I would also like to know where the other four members of PIRC stand on this issue.
My other key exception to the article is with Commissioner Mike Dever's and committee member Jason Edmonds' expressed opinions that there may be too much wage data in the report. One of the fundamental things, if not the fundamental thing, businesses contribute to a community is the wages they pay their employees. The city really needs the information to examine this issue as closely as possible. After all, a tax abatement is an investment, and because, by definition, companies that receive them aren't paying their full share of taxes, the quality of jobs they provide is about the only clear measure of the return on that investment.
To borrow Edmonds' analogy, if individual businesses are the trees, we would be well served to pay close attention to them so the unhealthy ones can be treated or removed, before we lose the whole forest to economic Dutch Elm disease.