Overland Park's foolish Teva Neuroscience deal
The Kansas City Star
Read through the corporate welfare deal that Overland Park officials have crafted for Teva Neuroscience, and you find some amazing points.
Here’s The Star’s story on the proposed agreement.The story includes the wonderful nugget that Overland Park officials expect lots of Teva employees to move to Overland Park - a thought that defies common sense because most current Missouri-side workers aren’t uprooting their families because they will have to commute a few more minutes to a Kansas-side business in the future. Sadly, the Teva deal is another of those no-net-growth taxpayer subsidies in the KC metro area.
And here’s a fun fact I found in Part VII, which makes Overland Park officials look foolish:
The building Teva wants taxpayers’ help to build will cost a reported $65 million. Overland Park officials note that is “a much greater investment than is typically expended on comparably sized office projects in the College Boulevard corridor.”
So far, so good.
But then there’s this: “Teva needs unique conference and connection space, training facilities and proximity to the Overland park convention center and the city’s other amenities.”
In other words, Teva wants to take advantage of all the other publicly (and some privately) financed improvements that Overland Park has been building for years, all in the name of attracting more people and businesses.
So this is what “success” looks like for Overland Park:
It spends taxpayers’ money up front to provide amenities for businesses, then the city and the state of Kansas spend taxpayer money on the back end to get businesses to deign to come to Overland Park.
It’s really an amazing admittance by Overland Park officials that their business model is broken.
If the city had done a good enough job providing amenities to woo businesses such as Teva, it wouldn’t have to sign on to more handout deals like the one being arranged for the company this week.
This deal has been greased for Teva, and the public hearing Monday night will be sham - as are most public hearings on corporate welfare deals on both sides of the state line.
Teva will get financial help from the city and state that most other companies in the metro area - including longtime Overland Park companies - can only dream of. But that’s how this “competition” between Missouri and Kansas is working these days.
I know O.P. officials will make the legitimate point that Teva, not taxpayers, have to repay the bonds being used to bankroll the corporate headquarters.
But by Overland Park’s very own admission, it’s not a good enough city to attract Teva on its own, with its current amenities, roads, schools, etc.
It’s just another sad chapter in the eco-devo war in the KC metro area, a war that taxpayers are losing and a few privileged private companies are winning.