Isthmus on Edgewater

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gargantua
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby gargantua » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:26 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Soglin's capital budget will gut TIF funding to Edgewater project

Mayor Paul Soglin's proposed capital budget, scheduled to be released Tuesday, would gut the amount of tax incremental financing the city would provide to the controversial Edgewater Hotel redevelopment from a promised $16 million to around $4 million, according to two City Council members.


I wonder if this will kill the project. The amount of TIF was the main reason I was opposed to the project, so I support the Mayor on this one. I hope the developer finds a way to do the project in spite of the reduction, but if not, the sun will still rise tomorrow.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby snoqueen » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:10 pm

This is a good decision, in my opinion. If the fire department says they'd need to close a station under the proposed budget cuts, and the police department says they'd have to lay off something like 30 cops, I think it is right that the Edgewater TIF be drastically cut.

I've never figured out why other hotel owners didn't cry foul when Edgewater was offered a city subsidy others didn't have, or why conservative council members didn't say this TIF put the city in competition with private business, or why the city was funding a project that contained a bunch of luxury condominiums on top. (You can't persuade me the hotel budget could be separated meaningfully from those condos so they weren't subsidized but hotel rooms were.)

If the convention center needs another hotel, it should be put where guests can walk back and forth from their rooms to their meetings conveniently.

Nobody can honestly argue the hotel creates good jobs. Everybody knows hotel work pays bottom-tier wages and, I'm sure, no benefits. These aren't family-supporting jobs, they're equivalent to fast food work. If the city wants to subsidize construction jobs, pick a project the general public can benefit from, not a private hotel for football game weekenders.

Edgewater was an extremely poor use of city money to start with and to drop it in this very tough fiscal climate is wise. I am relieved, and pleased at Mayor Soglin's decisions since he took office.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Ducatista » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:49 pm

snoqueen wrote:Everybody knows hotel work pays bottom-tier wages and, I'm sure, no benefits.

Why are you sure? (I know nothing about hotel jobs.)

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby snoqueen » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:55 pm

Because there are more people looking for jobs that require few skills than there are jobs.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Ducatista » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:12 pm

That sounds more like an "I assume" than an "I'm sure."

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby gargantua » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 pm

Ducatista wrote:That sounds more like an "I assume" than an "I'm sure."


OK, let's "assume" that it really was an "I assume". Do you have information that would prove that Sno's assumption (if that's what it is) is invalid?

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Ducatista » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:24 pm

Nope. That's why I asked the original question. And Sno's response did nothing to clear things up. Did it sound definitive to you?

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby gargantua » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:50 pm

Ducatista wrote:Nope. That's why I asked the original question. And Sno's response did nothing to clear things up. Did it sound definitive to you?


No, not definitive. This probably won't help much, but I did read in newspaper accounts early in the debate that hospitality industry jobs were predominantly low wage....but for all I know that was just someone's opinion too. Given what they do.....wait tables. bus tables, work the front desk, clean rooms, launder linens, set up conference rooms....of course there are a handful of managers...but if the majority of those jobs command even 10 bucks an hour, I would be quite surprised.

Hopefully someone who is actually knowledgeable will come along and enlighten us soon.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Huckleby » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:53 pm

snoqueen wrote: Nobody can honestly argue the hotel creates good jobs. Everybody knows hotel work pays bottom-tier wages and, I'm sure, no benefits .


The hotel is going to directly create some good jobs and some bad jobs. It's elitist to suggest that the bad jobs have no value, some people very much need those bad jobs.

Indirectly, the construction project and hotel contribute to the economy, helping electricians, advertising agencies, cab drivers, .....

I really can't say whether the TIF investment was worth it. I'll have to trust Soglin's judgement. I suspect the city just can't afford it now, good investment or not.

Leaving the question of the aesthetics of the Edgewater project aside, I think this is a sad day for Madison. It shows that we are in very deep doo-doo economically. This is a splash of cold water in the face.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby DCB » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:59 am

Huckleby wrote:
snoqueen wrote: Nobody can honestly argue the hotel creates good jobs. Everybody knows hotel work pays bottom-tier wages and, I'm sure, no benefits .


The hotel is going to directly create some good jobs and some bad jobs. It's elitist to suggest that the bad jobs have no value, some people very much need those bad jobs.

Indirectly, the construction project and hotel contribute to the economy, helping electricians, advertising agencies, cab drivers, .....

The construction will only help in the short term.

The TIF money is only justified if it helps the local economy in the long term. If we wanted to create lots of shitty jobs we could just spend that $16M directly.

Its up to the Edgewater supporters to demonstrate that using the TIF will create decent jobs with a living wage. That's not 'elitist', that's being fiscally responsible.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Huckleby » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:53 am

DCB wrote: The construction will only help in the short term.
That's the Herbert Hoover argument against stimulus spending.

DCB wrote: The TIF money is only justified if it helps the local economy in the long term..
An expanded hotel helps the local economy in the long run. More jobs - good or bad - means more money injected. More people downtown helps area businesses. Larger hotel means more advertising dollars, more movement of people, etc.


DCB wrote: If we wanted to create lots of shitty jobs we could just spend that $16M directly.
I'm a big beleiver in the government creating shitty jobs during times of severe downturn. That's what the Civilian Conservation Corps was during the Great Depression. I would be OK spending $16M directly on make-work. But building a hotel is a practical way forward, and majority of citizens in Madison want an improved hotel at that location.

DCB wrote:Its up to the Edgewater supporters to demonstrate that using the TIF will create decent jobs with a living wage. That's not 'elitist', that's being fiscally responsible.
Your expectation is unrealistic. Your heart may be in the right place, but it is in fact elitist to effectively stand between poor people and low paying jobs that they need.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby gargantua » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:20 am

If we had $16 million to spend to generate jobs, shitty or otherwise, I would prefer that the money go to repair or improve infrastructure. Stormwater retention ponds to protect the lakes, as opposed to financing a facelift for a hotel that is nowhere near the convention center, for example. Improving railroad crossings and expanding quiet zones. Avoiding the layoff of police and firefighters. Those are good jobs, doing work that promotes the general welfare of the entire community.

Other than the near term construction jobs, I really have to question how many "new" permanent jobs would result from this. Presumably, the existing hotel already has employees. How many ADDITIONAL employees would be hired after the project was completed? And how much of an economic boost would it really provide, given that we are talking about refurbishing and expanding an existing hotel, not creating one that wasn't already there?

If setting priorities and wanting to get the most value from our limited TIF dollars makes one an elitist.....put me in that camp.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby jjoyce » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:22 am

For a small indication of a hotel's impact on a neighborhood, talk to Monroe Street businesses about Hotel Red's opening. I've only heard two, so I don't have nearly enough evidence to form a conclusion.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby DCB » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:00 pm

Huckleby wrote: Your expectation is unrealistic. Your heart may be in the right place, but it is in fact elitist to effectively stand between poor people and low paying jobs that they need.

If we're just trying to put money in people's hands, right now, during the so-called 'recovery', sure.

But that's not what this is about. Its about using tax money to fund infrastructure to support a hotel that will allegedly hire more people far into the future.

And in the future, I would like to see many more living wage jobs. If the hotel can't provide that, then we should direct the money to another enterprise that can. Anything less is elitist.

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby snoqueen » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:18 pm

Subsidizing the expansion of a business that largely creates sub-living wage jobs supports the expansion of the sub-living wage sector in Madison. Better to support educational programs to lift people out of a condition of dependency and offers them more choices, instead of furthering the employment race to the bottom -- which is doing quite well on its own.

I would be curious to hear Monroe Street's opinions on the new hotel. I don't live over there or have any reason to shop there so I have no way to know how it's affecting the community. I guess if a big sports hotel opened in my neighborhood I'd be concerned about even more noise and game day drunks, but that's why I don't live over there in the first place. I know neighborhood support for Hotel Red has been very thin from the start. What are people saying?


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