banner sullivan-county.com




More public dollars looted to underwrite The Falls development

by Lewis Loflin

Bristol Virginia utilities is a supposedly public owned utility that supplies water electricity etc. to Bristol Virginia and surrounding areas. Like other public institutions it has been infiltrated by political corruption.

The Bristol Herald Courier is reporting on December 16, 2014 that the utility is supposed to adopt new policies over abusive use company credit cards, free meals for their friends, etc.

The problem is the political appointees to the board are robbing the rate payers blind. This has included $10,000 to underwrite a music program, and $200,000 in economic development grants used to underwrite a music concert.

Now under political pressure from the City and its crony capitalism economic development authority that's housed in the same building ratepayers are going to be forced to subsidize more freebies for the $100 million taxpayer funded Falls retail development. And that's just what we know of.

This includes over $72,000 to install electrical equipment. The problem is the Bristol Virginia is broke and its bond rating is nosediving and had to be bailed out by the State taxpayers. So their inability to get enough corporate welfare to fill the pockets of their friends and business associates forces them to go behind-the-scenes to get the money.

That has been a long-established dirty trick in this community to cost-shift corporate welfare and business incentives onto the public utility and charge it back to ratepayers.

In addition the Bristol Herald Courier is reporting on November 26, 2014 that Bristol sold another $34 million in revenue bonds to pay off their friends and Cabela's. As they reported the city has had to get by a number of legal challenges and lawsuits. Politicians simply change the law to do what they want.

And that is the danger of this whole system where politicians can simply make up laws on-the-fly to justify anything they want to do.

Even more controversial is a few miles down I81 the $30 million taxpayer underwritten Bass Pro shop development will be directly competing with Cabela's and has led to bitter fighting between the two Bristol's trying to lure each other's retailers to jump the state line.

Again there is no economic development program in a region - public money is used as a political slush fund to reward the rich and connected. That's why after spending tens of millions of dollars Bristol and surrounding region still ranks near the bottom of every social demographic and state. Crony capitalism doesn't work and it's time to end it.