The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 28, 2013

Letter: Is more always better?


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — “Economic development” — now there’s a phrase you don’t hear from Enid boosters more than 10,000 times a year.

Theoretically, tax incentives bring businesses, jobs and tourists, revenue from whom will eventually trickle down to the folks living on East Pothole Ave. and North Buckled Pavement Lane.

Yeah, right.

Meanwhile those folks can saunter around the Gateway Boondoggle sipping $8 lattes, thinking how lucky they are.

Last year, Oklahoma blew one-fifth of state revenue on “incentives” to lure new businesses here. States compete thus with other states, cities with cities, swapping one company for another.

Enid may steal a pickle factory from Lawton, which lures a gun show from Muskogee, which nabs a crappie tournament from Stillwater, which coaxes away Enid’s horse-slaughtering festival.

One study indicates 80 percent of such projects would locate without incentives, anyway. And who pays for these incentives? We, the taxpayers, of course.

Our population has held at 40,000-50,000 since 1953. We have no mountain, lake, interstate or theme park. It is heresy to suggest that Enid reached optimal size decades ago?

Is it horrible to say that many of us think this is a nice-sized city and that bigger, noisier, more congested and sprawling aren’t desirable? Is more always better? Just asking.

Court Atchinson

Enid