Saturday, August 04, 2007

who the heck is Randy Parton anyway?

This may well be the biggest local government boondoggle in recent NC history. The city of Roanoke Rapids has shelled out millions (at least $23 million) to build and support the Randy Parton Theater. What kinds of shows will be put on at this glorious new theater? Why, Randy Parton, of course. Plus other big events like.... well, none.

From the John Locke Foundation article linked above:

The city is planning for ticket sales and other theater revenues to raise enough funds to pay expenses, including Parton’s $1.5 million annual fee and the monthly debt service on the $21.5 million. If those funds are not enough, the city will have to use local sales or property taxes.

(in the South Park's Sheila Broflovski voice:) What what what?!

Who in their right mind thinks Randy Parton playing four nights a week will generate $23 million? I'm not so sure they could make that much money if Randy's sister Dolly was the nightly headliner.

The city fathers of Roanoke Rapids may have an answer, but they are keeping that a secret. The article notes that the financial statements for this taxpayer-funded project are considered confidential. They consider them to fall under the category of "trade secrets." Sorry, but anyone who think the finances of a taxpayer-funded project should be kept secret from the taxpayers should be run out of office immediately.

Parton's production company is supposedly responsible for making payments on the city's loan is well named. However it is unclear if they are on the hook for anything if their profits don't cover the city's costs. Since after all the agreement is confidential.

But we do have a very strong clue to these answers from the name of Parton's production company, Moonlight Bandit LLC. Although they are somewhat misnamed, as this robbery is taking place in broad daylight.

fits and starts

Yeah, I know nobody is reading this much, at least not yet. I promised myself I wouldn't promote this blog again until I had posted regularly for a week. So let's start the slate clean again today, shall we?

lobbying ourselves with tax money

Our friends at Americans for Prosperity have a great article up on how groups like the NC League for Municipalities and the Partnership for North Carolina's Future conduct their lobbying activities with our money. These groups are mostly funded by membership fees collected from local and county governments, which are of course raised through taxes.

It makes me sick that we are forced to pay for lobbyists who only advocate positions which will raise taxes and reduce our freedom. These particular groups are focused now on preventing a state Constitutional amendment limiting eminent domain abuse from coming to a vote. It's just a baldfaced lie, pretending to be representing a group of taxpayers when they are really only representing the tax collectors.

But one of the beautiful things about the Old North State is that we have plenty of good folks like those at AFP who keep us informed about how our state and local governments operate.