The more I read other political blogs praising the conservative bonafides of Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and his principled stance against corporate cronyism, the more I question the ability of people to research his record and be honest about it.
From OC Political:
“It would seem to behoove good local Republican politicians to know what the goings on are in their county’s Central Committee, particularly when a monthly meeting might be featuring one of their cohorts on their own council. Mayor Tom Tait was a guest speaking at the meeting just a few months ago. He delivered a very different message. His message was that he stood alone fighting the battle of fiscal conservatism on the Anaheim City Council. The 4-1 vote in favor of extending tax rebates (TOTs) to hotel developers (Tait was the only dissenter) seems to bolster this claim by Mayor Tait.
From the OC Register via the Official Tom Tait Blog, er “Save Anaheim” on the city’s negotiations with the Angels:
“I would not do the deal,” said Mayor Tom Tait, the sole dissenter in the City Council’s Sept. 3 vote to proceed with negotiations using the staff proposal as the basis for talks. “That land belongs to the people, and we need to protect the people. We certainly value the Angels, but the economic value to the city doesn’t merit giving away the land for free.”
The fact of the matter is Tom Tait was a big supporter of corporate cronyism long before he was against it.
In 2012, Tait and the entire Anaheim City Council, approved tax incentives for targeted Anaheim businesses through the creation of the Anaheim Enterprise Zone. The tax incentives offered included tax credit for hiring, sales, use tax credits, business deductions, net interest deductions, and net operating loss carry-forward credits.
In 2011, Tait and the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved the city use of $20 million for citywide TOT for the development of the Grand Plaza in Anaheim, which created an extension of the convention center and direct benefit to the Anaheim Marriott and the Anaheim Hilton Hotels.
In 2003, Tait and the council majority approved a city renegotiation with the Anaheim Sheraton so they, in turn, could provide more favorable terms for Morton’s Restaurant in Anaheim. The added benefit on the lease allowed for a refurbishment of the hotel and the Morton’s to be built.
In 2002, with Tait’s vote there were two unanimous approvals of the city council for a 50 percent TOT sharing. One for the Anaheim Sheraton which was never done due to restricted financing. The other was a 50 percent TOT share for any expansion of a convention center hotel through the Convention Center TOT Sharing Program. The only hotel to enter into this agreement was the Doubletree.
Tait’s record on the GardenWalk project goes back to 2002 as well. He voted yes on the city proving a 50 percent sales tax rebate to the GardenWalk for 30 years for the funding of its parking structure and a 50 percent TOT sharing agreement. It was a unanimous vote of the city council.
In 1996, Tait approved the city-financed parking structure for Disneyland, the convention center expansion, street and infrastructure improvements and sign replacements via a TOT and other taxes. The TOT in this case is three cents of every 15 percent of the TOT for all hotels in Anaheim’s resort area and a full 100 percent of all the growth of TOT, sales taxes, property taxes from Disney properties over the course of 30 years.
And way back in 1995, after Tait was appointed to the council, he voted in favor of a 1 percent TOT increase for site acquisition costs for the arena now known as the Honda Center.
As a pro-business Democrat, I don’t have a problem with government investing in areas to stimulate job creation and sales growth. If Anaheim wasn’t offering these sort of business incentives for local businesses, other municipalities would and do. The State of Michigan, for example, sent a delegation of people in the economic development office to the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in hopes of luring electronics companies to relocate to Michigan or place their North American headquarters in Michigan through a combination of tax incentives and other taxpayer-funded enticements.
And when it comes to businesses sucking from the “public teat”, as it’s so often described, Tait & Associates has no problem using public funds for training purposes.
The State of California offers private companies grants for training employees on a variety of equipment using new computers and new software applications and Tait & Associates applied for these grants several times. From the website http://www.etp.ca.gov/ : The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs. The ETP was created in 1982 by the California State Legislature and is funded by California employers through a special payroll tax. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency. Businesses determine their own training needs and how to provide training. ETP staff is available to assist in applying for funds and other aspects of participation.
According to state records, in 2004/05,Tait & Associates was approved for $334,620 in contracts to train 234 employees from May 2005 to May 2007. The earned amount of the grant was $114,685 and 145 employees were trained in a company that reported 265 people working at the business. In 2006/07, Tait & Associates was approved for $283,500 to train 210 employees from May 2007 to May 2009 (about three weeks after the expiration of the first grant). Tait & Associates reported 128 people were trained but the company shrunk to 227 people. In 2009/10,Tait & Associates got a third ETP grant to train 125 employees for $75,500; 53 were trained but the business was down to 162 people.
In all, Tait & Associates had their employees trained on new computers and software to the tune of more than $320,000 in taxpayer funds after having been approved for nearly $700,000 – all to help a private business train employees to better do their jobs. So nearly nearly twice as many people were trained than are currently employed at Tait &Associates. Was Tom Tait himself trained with these state dollars?
I don’t have a problem with Tait using a state economic development program to train his staff, if it leads to job creation. Tait & Associates seems to have a much lower headcount today than they did a few years ago. Maybe he needs more OCTA contracts?
Saint Tait’s clown car of supporters seem to think any public investment in private business entities is a sin as evidenced by their repeated criticisms of Angels negotiations, attacks on the Anaheim Chamber, and attacks on anyone who dare criticize his honor for taking a principled stance ought to be asking Tait why he talks the talk without walking the walk. Or better still, why his reputation as a taxpayer champion isn’t backed up by his record.
Tait voted against the Angels deal in 1996. He’s against the current draft proposal for the Angels. And he was against the amended GardenWalk TOT in 2012. Other than that, Tait’s been a consistent “yes” vote on all sorts of “crony capitalism.” And we haven’t even gotten all the records for Tait’s firm’s work for hotels in nearby Garden Grove that got even sweeter deals from that city than Anaheim did..but those records are forthcoming. But Tait isn’t accountable to *those* taxpyaers, right?