Barr Rubber, Foster Grant, American Crayon, G&C Foundry, Chesapeake, Vulcan, Sandusky Cabinets, Hinde and Dauch, Feddersen's, Universal Clay and many more -- all gone. Can anything bring our area the replacements for these vanishing firms? Maybe not. But we ought to try!
The magic formula that has worked for many other communities (Findlay for one example) is a simple one our area leaders don't seem to know-- tax abatement!
Those small employers may never have paid the wages of the automotive industries, but their employees made enough to comfortably afford a home in neighborhoods filled with solid hardworking families. Those homes are now rental properties. Many are blighted and not getting any better.
Homes in Sandusky were among the 10 most affordable in the nation. A few of my fellow Realtors were enthusiastic about that. Not me! I'm all for higher prices and having the kind of jobs available that allow the workers to comfortably pay for them.
We often hear the hard-line conservative rave,"Those on welfare should go out and get a job." The question is,"What job?" Welfare pays more than many service jobs.
Tax abatement is an investment into the future. It brings manufacturing jobs. We don't need any more service jobs or plastic palm trees. People with decent paying jobs buy bread and milk, cars and insurance and pay sales taxes. The earned incomes are taxed. They buy homes and pay real estate taxes. They enhance the property values for all of us. Unemployment and poor wages do none of those things. Our area leaders, especially our constantly demanding school boards, should take a longer term look and forget about instant payoffs.
I've lived in this area more than 40 years and have known only one person with any civic authority who understood the power and proper usage of abatement. Bring back Darcy Schee.