OC Unions Right, Businesses Wrong

Steven Greenhut: It’s not every day that I side with the public employee unions. In fact, it’s almost never the case, yet the Orange County Employees Association, community activists and the Occupy types were exactly right recently when they protested a plan by the Anaheim City Council to provide $158 million in tax subsidies to build two new hotels in the Disneyland resort area. The county’s unprincipled business community was there championing the hotel welfare as a job creator, echoing the same philosophy as President Obama. The public gets it but business leaders don’t.

“Residents cheered wildly when Councilwoman Lorri Galloway gave an impassioned speech deriding the tax plan, saying: ‘This is the wrong time to be giving gifts of taxpayer money. …The people of Anaheim should be outraged,'” according to an Orange County Register report.

Redevelopment agencies may be dead, but the same corporate-welfare, anti-taxpayer, special-privilege philosophy is alive and well and not just in Democratic bastions. The public employee groups are wrong when they insist that taxpayers pay more money so that union members can enjoy lush, unsustainable pensions, but they are right that cities should not lavish subsidies on hotel developers. If a developer can’t build a hotel near Disneyland without government help, then maybe the Soviets were right after all about the unsustainability of capitalism.

The Anaheim town hall came after the council voted 3-2 to support the giveaway. Council members Lorri Galloway, a Democrat, and Mayor Tom Tait, a Republican, were the good guys by voting no, thus proving that while foolishness is bipartisan, so too is good sense.

FEB. 16, 2012

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