Two issues have bubbled to the surface in the local debate over economic development and the proper role of government. Those are:
1) Whether Bernalillo County should impose fees up to 3% on utilities that use right of way owned by the County;
On the this issue, we need to ask questions including the following:
How was the 3% number arrived at?
Do utilities impose costs on the County relating to its “right of way” for example in terms of moving wires or equipment that are not covered in the existing system?
Is a 3% fee going to cover such costs or result in excess revenues?
If so, what will those revenues be used for? Will they benefit utilities or their customers?
Who pays for rights-of-way currently?
How is this 3% fee different from a simple tax increase?
2) This issue relates to the ongoing discussion of Whether the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County should subsidize a grocery store downtown. Advocates explain their position in the initial article while I have written about the issue here;
If there is really a market for a second grocery store downtown, why isn’t one located there already?
Is it really in the best interests of taxpayers from all over the city and county to subsidize one part of Albuquerque?
If benefits are available for one business in one part of town, why not make these same benefits available for other businesses in other parts of town?
If there IS a market for another supermarket downtown, but the issue is one of public policy, what can the City and County do to mitigate of solve the issue?