Chamber Of Commerce Is A Corporate Welfare Union - And Response

Friday, July 19, 2013 - by April Eidson

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce opposing unions is a laugh out loud moment, for sure.

Let’s examine the local Chamber of Commerce just for a moment.  These are the facts:

1)      The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce is a registered non-profit with membership that pays dues for the privilege of calling themselves a member. In return, the Chamber of Commerce lobbies for GovernMInt benefits their members, who include the largest corporations.  The Chamber also has a registered PAC. They are the pure definition of union, with corporate welfare members.  At least the unions don’t ask for a GovernMint check each year, their members pay their own way.

2)      The Chamber of Commerce lobbies for their corporate members to receive property tax abatements and other privileges, you and I could not obtain as a small to medium sized business, or a property owner. No property tax emption for the little people, we pay.  Some of the Chamber deal cutting, includes exempting the list of 50 corporations not paying property taxes from paying stormwater utility fees. I believe this is unlawful on the stormwater utility, and should be challenged. The idea that we all have to property taxes and stormwater fees, except the GoverMints favorites, is absurd. How do you get on that GovernMInt free pass form taxes list?

My favorite property tax abatement, or PILOT, is the River City Company issuing an abatement to themselves at the movie theatre property downtown.  What a great advantage leasing property, when you are property tax exempt   We all want that deal.

3)      The Chamber of Commerce is also heavily taxpayer subsidized to the tune of $1.1 million annually of local property and sales tax revenues.  The city and county budget each year allocates an annual gift of $1.1 million. Interestingly enough, when I asked to review the budget for the taxpayer windfall to the Chamber, they claimed not subject to open records. What a fun concept to take $1.1 million in local property tax dollars, and tell the taxpayer it is none of their business, because the Chamber is a non-profit private corporation.

The absurdities of this powerful corporate machine in Chattanooga fighting unions, they are a GoverMint subsidized union. 

Why does the public have to fund this union of corporations with operating money?  

* * *

All so-called Chambers of Commerce operate similarly. The one here in Lancaster, SC, and the one in Charlotte operate the same. It's also the reason our company no longer belongs to any of them, besides the fact they act like it's a privilege to pay our hard earned money to belong.

Maybe it's time for citizens to lobby their elected officials to eliminate public subsidies of these organizations and those like them. A trade organization should be exactly that, a trade organization that is supported by its membership. That's the way it used to be.

Here's an idea. If the Chamber of Commerce is subsidized by tax dollars, shouldn't all of us automatically be members? As members, shouldn't we also have a vote as to who runs the show and what direction the organization will take? Who appoints the chief operating officer and governing board of the Chamber? Shouldn't we, taxpayers and paying members, have elected representatives to any governing board in addition to the head honcho of the Chamber of Commerce?

If not, why not?

Jim Earley
Lancaster, SC
earley0902@bellsouth.net


Thomas Gage, Not Cage

Re:  Roy Exum: Why The British Attacked   Dear Roy,  I think you'll find it was Thomas Gage, not "Cage" - a fact I learned at Sunnyside School. Thomas Cage is a company that sells avian supplies.  Lonnie Hatmaker (click for more)

Some Get It Wrong On Christians, The Inquisition And The Crusades

Some in the media, along with our President, have recently been accusing those who led the Crusades of being the worst mass murderers in history.  Conservative estimates cite approximately 1.7 million who were killed in the Crusades over a period of 200 years.  That would be 6,000 deaths a year.  As for the Inquisition, a total of about 3,000 were judged and sentenced ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Bracing For Possibility Of Strong Tornadoes

The Chattanooga area on Saturday was bracing for the possibility of strong tornadoes coming in from the West. The National Weather Service issued this Hazardous Weather Outlook: AN OUTBREAK OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORM IS EXPECTED THIS EVENING AND EARLY TONIGHT ACROSS THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AND SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN REGION ALONG AND AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT. DANGEROUS DAMAGING WINDS ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Says City Council Cannot Make Taxis Not Registered In Hamilton County Go Through Emissions Testing

The state attorney general's office has ruled that the City Council cannot require that taxis not registered in Hamilton County go through emissions testing. The city is dealing with the new Uber taxi service that has an out-of-town owner. Locally-owned cabs have to go through the annual emissions testing. The opinion says that local taxi owners cannot get around the emissions ... (click for more)

Hannah Wood Leads Red Bank To Two Tournament Wins

Friday was a pretty good day for the Red Bank Lionettes softball team. Hosting a six-team tournament, the Lionettes won two games on the opening day, holding off Lookout Valley by a 6-4 final in the first one before winning by a more comfortable 11-3 margin over Sequatchie County in the second one. Hannah Wood was the sparkplug in both as she had three hits twice and was the ... (click for more)

McCallie Soccer Remains Unbeaten With Win Over Rival Baylor

Hosting McCallie on Friday night, the Baylor soccer team knew that the first 15 minutes of the match would be key to a shot at upsetting its undefeated and top-ranked rival. The Red Raiders lasted 11 before the Blue Tornado struck.   McCallie opened the Division II-AA East/Middle Region match with high pressure, which paid off when Will McGregor finished a cross ... (click for more)