March 18, 2013
There is another Pilot approval in the works. This time it is for TJX Companies, Inc. The EDGE board (Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County) will meet next Wednesday (March 20th) at 3 PM at Memphis Bioworks, 20 S. Dudley.
As usual, EDGE calculated that the return will be $1.23 dollars of return for each dollar of taxes abated. In October 2012, Mr. Dulberger and others appeared on the WKNO show (Behind The Headlines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-kcnmFdLLM). During the show he said that past Pilots returned $1.87 for each one dollar of tax abatement. I have yet to see a Pilot application that did not claim to return more in the future for taxes abated now. Yet when you look at the financial crisis we have locally, particularly at the City, you have to ask “Where is the beef?. If the Pilots granted returned what they promised, we should be rolling in a flood of green.
During the above show I commented that what was needed was a complete survey of all past Pilot grants to show that, in fact, when the Pilot property came off the Pilot, that the property did in fact pay the full amount of the abated taxes in the future. Mr. Dulberger agreed and said that Memphis Consulting was hired and working on such a survey and report. If such a report exists, I have not seen it.
What is particularly disturbing about this particular application, according to the recent CA article, is that the average salary is $27,368 or about $13.15 per hour.
I just ran the figures for the average salary of the City of Memphis 6979 employees. It is $48,554. The average salary for those City employees falling below the average salary is $35,599. On top of this you must add benefits that run close to 40% for pensions, health care, vacations, sick days, holidays etc.
I wonder if the $13.15 hourly wage will draw many workers when you consider that their alternate income is unemployment insurance and other non work benefits and working for non taxed cash.