PILOTS and Non-Profits, Oh My
Like Groundhog Day, the usual debate on PILOTS and non-profits swirls. Just so you follow the thinking behind the policies advocated here:
Non-Profits — non-profits are a problem if and only if we can deem which non-profits are the problem. So non-profits like the churches, the hospital, the ones influenced by the True Amsterdamians: all those are cool. What is not cool are non-profits with Buddhists or historical artifacts, like the museum. In that case, non-profits suck blood from the community like vampires affixed to the jugular of your tax statement.
If you decry the removal of a large commercial property to a non-profit such as the museum purchasing the Noteworthy property, step back and ask why? Who created the domino effect of moving the museum from its longstanding home under the auspices of protecting tax payers? So in the process of protecting tax payers, we actually may come out somewhat behind on a net-net basis.
What is beautiful to behold here is not only the ongoing devastation of a local cultural asset, the museum, but the wholly flawed narratives of those so desperately protecting taxpayers whose actions inspire the polar opposite. What is even more beautiful to behold is that the same chorus decrying the museum simultaneously proclaims that Amsterdam has nothing that would make people buy or live here. So if you accept their premise, they don’t want a non-profit to take a property off the tax rolls because they want a private buyer to buy it so it will be on the tax rolls even though they dismiss the notion that buyers would actually buy such a thing in Amsterdam. After all, who would want to live here?
I’ll pause so you can collect your thoughts on the cognitive dissonance here.
And inevitably, the chorus will wail that the museum is using public funds to fund whatever it plans on doing. Remember folks, public funding is a terrible thing if it is used to actually develop or build something. But if it’s demolition based, bring on the funding!
In a similar vein, the arguments on the PILOT for Holland Gardens contains the competing objectives of a PILOT payment with significant investment versus no pilot and the lack of investment and likely further demise of the complex. But once again, the usual chorus so concerned with the fate of tax payers wants it each and every way: no public funding, no PILOT ,no Section 8, with a large private inflow of cash from a local-based investor all the while denouncing the reasons folks would live here. Remember folks, what the usual chorus rails against: outside landlords and investors seeking a profit
The bottom line then, per their logic, is that we need is a local profit-seeking investor who will keep the property on the tax rolls. Hmm, isn’t that what we have now?
I’ll pause so you can digest the cognitive dissonance here yet again.
Before I leave, I want to point out that the main economic development tool pioneered by AIDA was indeed the PILOT to attract manufacturing-based industries to the city. So once again, we’ll leverage PILOTs for commercial development while wholly neglecting and simultaneously undermining residential development.
After writing all this, I’d like a PILOT too– to fly me away.