The last few years have witnessed blatant examples of behavior and speech individually recorded only to be recounted later as not so, never happened or the witness/recording was a fabrication/fake. Most of this occurs on national news. Local occurrences are rarely noted as such. Ya gotta love the online dictionary’s supplemental description of gaslighting as a verb — “from the storyline of the movie Gaslight (1944), in which a man psychologically manipulates his wife into believing that she is going insane.” Either something is taking place, or it is not. Gaslighting shows the how and why of both. Occur locally? As Sarah Palin would say “You betcha!” Columbus teachers march in protest of city tax abatements for developers by Bill Bush appeared in the 4-24-19 Columbus Dispatch. Bush starts off “Ignoring warnings from city development officials that they don’t understand tax abatements, about 400 Columbus teachers marched up to the doorstep of the CoverMyMeds headquarters Downtown on Wednesday and presented the firm with a giant “tax bill.″ Chanting “Pharma got handouts, kids got sold out,” the teachers union tried presenting CoverMyMeds with a giant poster reading: “Bill: Robber, CoverMyMeds” for $44 million but were turned away. The firm received a 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement last year for a new $225 million office complex Downtown to be completed by 2024.” Around the middle Bush reports: “The Columbus Board of Education last June approved the CoverMyMeds abatement, which will cost the schools about $55 million in property taxes over its lifetime, the city estimated last year. But [Cols City Development Director Steve] Schoeny said this week the schools will share about $650,000 a year in income taxes with the city. “I’m not sure where (the schools) are losing money on that deal,” he said.” You do the math (55 mil divided by 650k per year would mean how many years to recoup?). ““Of course that’s what they say,” [Cols Ed Assoc Pres John] Coneglio countered. “We know the argument. It’s the chicken and the egg thing,” that developers wouldn’t have built without the abatement. But why should condos selling for $300,000 be subsidized by taxpayers, Coneglio asked. “We’re just saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to do this wisely. You can’t just give everything away.’” Steve Murray, 59, who teaches at Columbus Alternative High School, a building where the district is doing $1.1 million in emergency repairs after the public complained about its poor condition, considers the abatements “racist.” “It’s just so damn unfair” that tax money is diverted from an overwhelmingly minority school district to wealthy corporations, Murray said.” A little closer to home we find The Newark Advocate headlining North Newark affordable housing project awaits tax credits by Kent Mallett the same day (4-24-19). Notable: “One of the last remaining pieces of the old farm could become an affordable housing complex on north Newark land between Walmart and the Newark Area Soccer Association fields. Development plans are contingent on obtaining tax credits from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, which may announce the recipients next month. Commercial Realtor Steve Layman represented property owner Chilcote Prior LLC earlier this year at Newark Planning Commission meetings, when a lot split was approved and zoning changed from general business to multi-family residence district on 9.7 acres of the farm’s remaining 23 acres.” The article includes a lot of folderol about the land’s history as an investment farm, and the investor’s kin keeping investment horses there, etc. The report ends with: “The apartment complex, Layman said, could consist of 84 units in up to seven buildings, either two-story or three-story. Of the 9.7 acres, only about two acres can be developed, due to the Log Pond Run floodplain. A restaurant could also be built on adjacent land, situated so it would be visible straight ahead after turning from North 21st Street onto Log Pond Drive, Layman said.” You remember Steve Layman who projected development of the old elementary school across from the main library (West Main) only if he could get historic tax credits. Well he didn’t get them but still went ahead and developed the property anyways. It is very notable the article’s stress on tax credits making it happen without mentioning a single word about what rents would be with this “affordable housing.” Speaking of taxes (credits and abatements got to come from someplace, ya know), how about that GOP HB6, the “Energy Bill”? For the Statehouse News Bureau Andy Chow reports: “Opponents are speaking out against the bill that would prop up two struggling nuclear plants while also toss out the state’s green energy requirements for utilities. There’s a debate over whether the legislation will end up saving a person more or less on their electric bills. The proposed law would create a monthly fee of $2.50 to create clean air credits for carbon-free power generators.” “FirstEnergy Solutions says their two nuclear power plants are set to close by 2021 unless they receive financial aid. The bill could give those plants up to about $170 million.” (4-23-19) “[AEP Vice President of External Affairs Tom] Froehle says AEP likes the bill “If done right, the bill will go down some but the benefit is that you’re finally getting investment in Ohio in clean air,” says Froehle. New fees in the legislation would create a $300 million fund from  – more than half would go to the nuclear plants, with the rest to renewable sources.” (4-24-19) Of course, AEP doesn’t own any nuclear power plants. FirstEnergy does (nuclear waste doesn’t just get cleaned up for a “jobs ready” site by JobsOhio, or does it?). But that’s beside the point. “According to a new study, a group of 60 companies in the Fortune 500 booked nearly $80 billion in total profits in 2018, but each owed $0 in taxes. Worse: Many of these companies actually got rebates from Uncle Sam, totaling more than $4 billion.” (Billions in Profits, No Taxes: How the Trump Tax Code Let 26 Companies Off the Hook, Tim Dickinson for Rolling Stone, 4-15-19). Of the 26 companies on the list, some are local favs – Amazon, AEP, FirstEnergy, Halliburton. The last word on this goes to someone who knows gaslighting when they see it: “[Steve] Murray thinks he has a simpler answer. If city and district officials are worried that companies will move away if they have to pay their taxes, “let them leave,” he said. “If they’re not putting any taxes into the city, then who cares?” (Bush)



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