Businesses, governments and taxpayers across Iowa's 99 counties and hundreds of cities and towns (indeed throughout America) are confronting three challenges from e-commerce in a global economy.
(1) Iowa's nationally and locally owned retail outlets, newspapers, and bookstores are struggling to find business models that will carry them from small town virtual monopoly storefronts into the highly competitive global marketplace of the Internet, Web pages and social media.
(2) Iowa's state, county and local governments are trying to figure out what they can best do to help the economies and communities of constituents for which they feel some responsibility.
(3) Iowa's city, county and state taxpayers are questioning the wisdom of a "solution" that involves transferring their tax dollars from legitimate government projects to the bottom line of a handful of politically favored for-profit enterprises. Especially do they question the transfers when the money is used for business plans that appear to be pretty unimaginative responses to "e-commerce."
These issues were recently explored in depth in "Big Boxes, Little Bookstores and Taxpayers; We'll Leave the Prairie Lights on For You," June 6, 2012.
That blog entry provided the research and source material, with links, for what ultimately became a column in this morning's Press-Citizen.
If this is a subject that interests you that earlier blog entry is worth your exploration. Otherwise, this lighthearted 644-word column will provide a quick-read, summary view of these deadly serious issues.
Maybe Taxpayers Should Buy Wal-Mart a Gift Shop
Iowa City Press-Citizen
June 11, 2012, p. A7
The Iowa City Council, at least three members, recently leapfrogged over
their colleagues to rule that local taxpayers should pay for a local business’s “museum quality gift shop” and café.
To “speed things up a little bit” they delegated the matter to the discretion of the city manager.
The grant is not even a TIF. It’s a $27,500 gift, plus a possible $15,000 1 percent loan.
Why do it? They want to “educate the public about eCommerce.”
--> For the rest of the column, for further exploration of these issues, along with the links to sources for the quotes and assertions, see "Big Boxes, Little Bookstores and Taxpayers; We'll Leave the Prairie Lights on For You,"
The column itself is embedded in "E-Commerce Challenges Businesses, Governments, Taxpayers,"