Hippodrome deal merits further Council scrutiny as City finances become constrained
Ron Stallings and The Hippodrome; the final act or only intermission in a lengthy play?
At Thursday's Finance Committee meeting, I spoke in opposition to Ordinance 2009-217. It would give a $600,000 grant to millionaire Jackson Ward developer Ronald Stallings' Hippodrone Theater and Kelvin Hanson's Taylor Mansion. By chance, Kelvin Hanson's name was on the agenda, named as a reappointment to the Economic Development Authority. The summary of Ordinance 2009-217 reads, "To authorize the CAO to execute a Development Agreement between the City of Richmond, Virginia and the Economic Development Authority of the City of Richmond, Virginia for the purpose of implementing economic development and HOME grants for a mixed use development..."
Does something sound wrong? Should a developer who is a member of the Economic Development Authority also be a primary developer in a project financed by the Authority?
Finance Committee Discusses $600,000 Grants for Hippodrone Theater - Jan. 21, 2010 from Silver Persinger.
Above, listen to the entire Council discussion of the ordinance. The final vote from the Committee was 2-1 . Mrs. Ellen Robertson [6th District] and Mr. Charles Samuels [2nd District] in the affirmative and Mr. Bruce Tyler [1st District] voted in the negative.
Silver Persinger Speaks Against Exemption from Admission Tax for Business - Jan. 21, 2010 from Silver Persinger.
Ordinance 2009-237 proposes to abolish admissions taxes on complimentary tickets. I spoke in opposition to the paper. This paper was inspired by the Virginia Automotive Dealers Association not being happy to pay the $7000 for handing out 20,000 complimentary tickets. So they sent their representative to their friend Mr. Doug Conner [9th District], a friendly ear in the auto body repair business, himself.
Why should businesses be exempt from paying the same taxes that us regular citizens have to pay? When I buy two tickets, I am paying the admissions tax. This is the cost of doing business. Perhaps there are better ways they can spend their marketing dollars. Corporations and business organizations should not have so much influence creating legislation.
As you can see from the existing legislation, there are already exemptions for children under 12 and for free admission to "museums, botanical gardens, or zoos."
Part 2- Shall Business be Exempted from Tax? Jan. 21, 2010 from Silver Persinger.
Above, watch the entire discussion on abolishing the admission tax on complimentary tickets, the discussion starts around 3 minutes, 30 seconds [3:30].