Spin Control

Spokane City Council candidates debate tax breaks for businesses

The following was asked on The S-R's candidate questionnaire. Candidate Chris Bowen declined to submit a questionnaire. Here are the answers, which were allowed to be up to 150 words, from the five other people hoping to replace Bob Apple and represent Northeast Spokane on the council.

Do you support tax incentives for historic renovation? Do you support tax incentives for building condos and apartments downtown and in certain neighborhood centers?

Continue reading the post to find out their answers.

Gary Pollard:

Yes, for each represents an economic driver for our city. The state allows us few tools to increase much needed revenues, jobs, growth, etc. We need to take advantage of the few we do have.

Mike Fagan:

Tax incentives can be a useful tool and is one way to promote business and job growth. The one glaring factor in all of this is that tax incentives are not a basic function of government and can only be extended in a good economic environment. While I am a proponent for historic renovation, we can’t afford this right now. As for incentives for condos and the like, if you are able to afford to buy a half-million-dollar condo you should be able to pay your property taxes for same.

Luke Tolley:

I do support tax incentives for historic renovation.  I believe the magnitude of those incentives should be evaluated but many people do not understand the cost of refurbishing an old building.  They protest and lament when old buildings are torn down, and I, too, think it’s a shame; however, I am also aware of the costs associated with doing so.  In my experience as an estimator and project manager for a demolition and historic restoration contractor, I have learned that it is very often much more expensive to rehab an old building that has been neglected than to demolish it.
I also support tax incentives for building condos and apartments downtown and in neighborhood centers, but again believe these should be evaluated for their effectiveness.  Rights of neighbors and developers should be balanced when it comes to these kinds of projects, and often tax incentives can complicate that relationship.

John Waite:

No. I do not support tax incentives for businesses. We should offer a fair playing field for all businesses. Long-standing tax loopholes amount to an inequitable business environment and loss of tax revenue.  

Donna McKereghan:

It depends on the particular incentives. How much? How long will they last? What benefit (financial and/or other) do we realistically expect to receive, in return? I support tax incentives to the extent that I believe they serve the public whose taxes may increase or, because of the fewer dollars in revenue accompanying tax incentives, may have their services trimmed or eliminated. I certainly do not favor cutting police officers so that we can build apartments downtown, for instance.

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Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt is an assistant city editor.

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