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City should help real businesses, not bail out government-run entities

If you were paying close attention, you would know that you recently forgave nearly a million dollar debt to a golf course close by. 

“Who, me? A million dollars? I did nothing of the sort!” you might reply with a puzzled look on your face.

Yes, you did, or, your city council did at its Oct. 16 meeting. Because government-run entities never have a passion for making a profit, you, dear property taxpayer of Cottage Grove, get to pay for other people’s continued golfing enjoyment.

Maybe you think it’s a good deal. After all, even though it has run at a loss for the past 10 years, it’s a “public good.” Maybe you agree with council member Justin Olson that since most of what government does is not technically what it should be doing, it’s fine and dandy for your city to be in the golf business. Maybe you are like some people who aren’t very interested in local political issues. Maybe you haven’t looked into how the hundreds or thousands of dollars you personally hand over to the city are spent each year. Maybe you are like me and wonder, “If this place can get a million dollar, taxpayer-funded bailout, why can’t my business?”

After all, isn’t Yo-Joe’s a public good? (It’s closing its doors at the end of this month.) Isn’t Snap Fitness a public good? Isn’t Menards a public good? If those businesses fall on hard times and need a million-dollar subsidy to operate, will your city council pick up the tab? Will they, as Mayor Myron Bailey said of the golf course, give them a “clean slate”? You already know the answer to that question. 

The city could, as I advocated during my run for city council last year, lower tax rates and government spending to make businesses like Yo-Joe’s easier to remain profitable and attract new businesses to the area. Instead, it will continue to throw millions of your dollars down the drain because most of its council members believe that more government is what’s best.

Don’t you wish you had a mulligan?

Matthew Kowalski

Cottage Grove