Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi The Urge To IRB

By Cap'n O

AUGUST 4, 1997:  Through my active and involved lifestyle, I have, over the years, helped to employ brewers, distillers, bartenders, hookers, cops, tobacco growers, psychiatrists, butchers and others involved in the business of slaughtering cattle and making juicy, red meat.

If I continue in my passion for the good life, I will, in the future, help employ heart surgeons, liver transplant specialists, pharmaceutical company executives, nursing home workers and at least one grave digger.

I'm a job machine. And since I am, I want industrial revenue bonds from the city. Or at least the tax breaks that come with them. Don't laugh. The way the city council has been handing out the IRBs as they're called, there is a precedent for economic miracle workers like me to get IRB-related tax deductions.

These bonds are touted as an economic development tool. They allow companies to raise money with which to build facilities. In return for building a factory or headquarters in a city, companies get tax breaks from local governments. The reasoning is that in return for the tax breaks, the companies create jobs, wealth and a solid community.

In the past 10 years, the council has approved $760 million in IRBs. That amounts to about $208 million in tax breaks for various companies. In one case, the city approved $10.5 million worth of bonds for Albuquerque Academy. In return for the tax breaks, the Academy was to create a total of--gasp--two jobs.

I've created more jobs than that. But I have yet to get the kind of tax breaks that the Academy and other businesses have gotten. And now it's time that I and other individual engines of economic growth get tax breaks.

Arsonists make jobs for firefighters, building contractors, insurance company adjusters and people who toil thanklessly in match factories. They deserve tax breaks for the energy they bring to the economy.

Smokers are now reviled by the enlightened few who want to control our lives. They are pigs who get sick, boost the cost of health care and smell bad, elitist wisdom says. But instead of damning smokers and shunning them as society-destroying menaces, we should give them tearful and thankful praise for contributing to our economic salvation. And we should give them tax breaks.

Because smokers create jobs. And we're not talking demeaning, esteem-stunting, minimum-wage jobs. Smokers create jobs in the high-paying, prestigious medical field. Surgeons and cancer specialists make big money. And when the dollars they make are rolled over into houses, expensive cars, fine liquors and extensive porno libraries, we all share in the economic benefit.

For that matter, all sick people deserve tax breaks. No group of people has ever created more good jobs and more wealth than sick people have. So instead of pitying someone who has a brain tumor the size of a bowling ball, celebrate the fact that they're hopelessly ill and in need of intense and expensive medical care.

Drunken drivers, murderers, rapists and petty thieves deserve tax breaks and our eternal thanks. They create jobs for defense lawyers, judges and prosecutors. Again, these are high-end, well-paying positions. Our benefits trickle down when those well-compensated judges and lawyers hire maids, nannies and illegal aliens to do their yard work.

Critics say that IRBs are bad business because they erode the tax base and shift the tax burden from companies that can afford it to individuals who can't. The critics also say that IRBs are a bad precedent. Pretty soon, they argue, we'll be paying companies to locate here.

I'm not one of those negative voices. In fact, I'm deliriously happy with IRBs. I just want my fair share of the tax breaks that the city council has been giving to job creators. And I'll be working hard to create even more jobs. So if you see me dumping used oil out on the mesa somewhere, don't yell. That's one more environmental engineer to hire--one more job. And that's good for the community. At least as good as IRBs.

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