Solstice Retreat

The Arizona Corporation Commission appears poised to toss solar power into the shadows

I strongly recommended against voting for the handout ("Charity for the Super-Rich," April 21, 2005), especially since the Riverview on Dobson shopping center is being built on prime land. Instead of making the shopping center the city's desperately needed cash cow, Mesa's naive, misled citizens gave away the key to the city treasury to a privately held company based in Missouri.

If that's not painful enough, just days after the May 17 election, Glendale announced that it landed Bass Pro's main competitor, Cabela's, to set up its own version of the great outdoors.

Cabela's is a publicly owned sporting goods store from Nebraska. The company says it will build a 165,000-square-foot store chock-full of outdoor supplies and gee-whiz attractions, including a fake mountain. Glendale agreed to hand out $16.7 million in incentives to land it.

Cabela's will divert thousands of customers from Bass Pro's doors. This, of course, is more bad news for Mesa taxpayers because it will take far longer for the city to cover the cost of the $84 million in giveaways, since Bass Pro's sales will obviously be far lower than originally projected.

Valley taxpayers have now forfeited $100 million to get two huge outdoor sporting goods stores.

Both of these operations would have eventually come here anyway -- without any incentives -- because of the size and wealth of this market. Valley residents spend more than $1 billion a year on sporting equipment. There was no need to give away a dime with that kind of spending.

The state Legislature needs to immediately pass a law that prevents cities from giving away sales taxes to lure retail businesses. Tax incentives should be used to help expand manufacturing and develop new industries -- such as, dare I say, solar.

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