- Published Date
- Written by Mike Martin
Joining hands to fight corporate-driven blight
COLUMBIA, 6/16/12 (Beat Byte) -- In a nod to widespread and ongoing resistance to Columbia's Blight Decree/EEZ proposal, pro-liberty group Keep Columbia Free (KCF) will lead a City Hall rally at the City Council meeting Monday, June 18th, 2012, starting at 6:30 PM.
"Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives, Tea Party, and Occupy CoMo have all come out against EEZ/Blight," said KCF director Mark Flakne. "Despite differences regarding policy in Jefferson City or Washington DC, we all agree that a select group of private businesses with special connections should not be able to pay a different set of taxes than everyone else."
On the books in one form or another since February, the Blight Decree legally tarnishes a broad swath of Columbia to qualify for a corporate tax break called an Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) that has seen little success in other communities. Resistance to the decree has been fierce, ongoing -- and yet virtually meaningless in the halls of power, with the City Council joining business lobby REDI -- a smallish group of powerful insiders -- to ram the legislation through.
"The EEZ ordinance was passed by Council in a 7-0 vote, despite widespread, grass roots, and bipartisan opposition to it," Flakne explains. "The economic and emotional impact of the blight designation, the specter of yet more corporate welfare, special deals, and the potential for eminent domain abuse combined to spark a major citizen response."
KCF "respectfully asks any and all campaigns, candidates, groups, and individuals, be they of the Left or the Right, to join us in solidarity as we demand the right to be heard and to decide our community’s future," he concluded.