Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Recap of Horizon's One on One: Olsen v. Grossfield

Darcy Olsen=1 Bob Grossfeld=0

Last night's One on One segment on Horizon featured Darcy Olsen, CEO and president of the Goldwater Institute, debating Bob Grossfeld, a Democratic campaign consultant and advisor from NPR's KJZZ affiliate. The topic was municipal (sales) tax incentives. Olsen easily won the debate, and refused to let Grossfeld talk over her, the only way he could have won. In Grossfeld's defense, there is really no way anyone can win an argument defending millions of taxpayer dollars going as subsidies to large wealthy corporations - corporations that will probably go ahead and build in your city anyway if you refuse to give them the subsidies.

Olsen described one wealthy out of state developer who was going to get $100 million from Phoenix taxpayers to build a high end shopping mall near Desert Ridge. Fortunately, the legislature finally passed a bill to stop cities from giving away these subsidies (although it only applies to 2 counties). Grossfeld tried to argue that some tax incentives are used for good things, but couldn't come up with any examples. Olsen pointed out an outrageous subsidy in Scottsdale where auto dealers were given taxpayers' money for their ad campaigns. Grossfeld made a weak attempt to accuse the Goldwater Institute of being hypocrites, since they receive tax breaks as a nonprofit organization. That kind of argument is absurd - I'm sure many libertarians at the Goldwater Institute believe philosophically that government shouldn't be taxing businesses anyways, other than say a small 1% across the board sales tax on products they sell - which would still not even apply to a nonprofit organization which doesn't "sell" anything.

1 comment:

Bob Grossfeld said...

My Dear Politico,
I suspect that you were just being unnecessarily kind to me in your re-cap of the show segment. As I recall things, it was less a matter of winning or losing based on the arguments and more a function of Darcey's amazing ability to just keep talking.
I know she took my breath away.
One point: Darcey and I actually agreed in our opposition to most of the wasteful tax subsidies you mentioned. I do believe that there are some tax subsidies are beneficial. The T-Gen project is one specific tax subsidy I was attempting to describe, along with the public subsidy of "non-profits" such as the Goldwater Institute, etc.
Darcey is an intelligent charming woman and it was my pleasure to be her punching bag for a few minutes.
But I'm looking foreword to a rematch.
Bob Grossfeld