So developers want financial help to open an Olive Garden in Lawrence. Never mind that they will open pretty close to more locally owned Paisano’s. Never mind that we have several existing Italian restaurants in town. Never mind the frequently published discussions of over-restauranting this town versus encouraging retailers. Never mind the many other new restaurants that got no financial relief to open.
Never mind that they will employ a few managers and cooks and servers, many of whom will be existing student-employees, probably trained at locally owned restaurants. Never mind that they will not hire scores or possibly hundreds of employees like Lowe’s would have. Never mind that the public already felt that giving financial help to an architecture firm to “stay” in town and hire no one just to move to a new location they liked was simply crazy. Never mind that no one is holding a fundraiser to keep Olive Garden’s parent company or the developers in business.
Put all of this aside. And explain to me why we should be giving a financially successful, national restaurant chain or the developers tax exemptions that will be taken from our property taxes that would have gone to our public school system (presently closing schools and intending to consolidate other schools) and other municipal departments looking to finance needs that will no longer be funded by our state. By all means, welcome Olive Garden, as long as they pay their fair share to our schools and our municipal functions.