Don’t be fooled.
“It’s not a threat, we simply cannot
afford to pay $100,000 in property taxes”. These are words coming from CEO
D’Angelo of Nexus Inc. in last weeks Mille Lacs Messenger. Coming from a
corporation that has an annual budget of $38 million dollars and can pay
their CEO over $250,000/year makes such a statement very hard to swallow.
Even just making such an assertion is a slap in the face to every taxpaying
resident and business in the county. At a time when corporate welfare and
greed has come under the microscope, it is hard to believe that people are
still trying to get away with such behavior.
The State has reaffirmed that Nexus, Inc
is not tax exempt. Seems pretty plain and simple to me. But rather than
pay their taxes like the rest of us, or pack up and leave Mille Lacs County
like they originally threatened, Nexus now plans to apply for tax
abatement. A rather hollow request after questionable tactics in trying
for complete tax exemption in the first place. Instead of approaching the
location and building of a new facility in an above-board fashion, they
chose to pull certain strings and mount a campaign that played upon people’s
fears. We were led to believe that Onamia would basically dry and up and
blow away if Nexus leaves town. In actuality, of the 133 jobs that would be
“lost”, less than 30 employees actually live in Onamia and the surrounding
area. The benefits to local businesses are limited to very few.
We need to urge our County Commissioners
to look closely at this application and the effect it will have locally and
county wide. Don’t let the benefits of a few outweigh the needs of the
entire county. A new $10 million facility can surely pay it’s share of
property tax. Tax abatement is a tool that should be used by counties and
cities to compete against each other to attract new business. Although
Nexus would like us to believe this, we are not competing with anyone.
They have demonstrated over and over by their maneuvering that they want to
be here. At a time when many of us are being asked to increase our own
taxes through a school referendum, offering tax abatement to a multi-million
dollar corporation simply does not make any sense at all.