January 24, 2008

Letters to the Editor
Pittsburgh Business Times
2313 East Carson Street, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Dear Editor,

With regard to the recent article on the development of the Don Allen site at Baum and Liberty, it was interesting to note that the story is quite different than the story presented in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in which it was disclosed that public funding is expected to be involved.

As a customer of Don Allen’s who chose them primarily because of their urban location (I can walk there for service from my house in Oakland), I will be very disappointed if public financing is indeed involved. So far, public funding of “big box” (or at least “bigger box”) developments has cost my neighborhood our local Giant Eagle and hardware store, as well as Rollier’s Hardware in Shadyside. While I wish local entrepreneurs every success in achieving the highest value, this should not be done with the public sector distorting the market and subsidizing what is essentially disinvestment. I will be watching closely to see whether TIF or other funding is involved with this project, and hope that others will do the same. I have learned from decades of experience that the private sector can never compete with the public sector.

In the meantime, I thank the 80 employees of Don Allen for their years of loyal service to their customers and express my personal regret that it seems that the prospect of public financing has helped to make their employer worth more dead than alive.

Sincerely,

Henry Posner III
Chairman

cc: City Councilman Bill Peduto

We thank Mr. Posner for allowing us to publish his LTE about the recent closing of Don Allen. There are several articles on this locally, each providing some detail below.

While at the moment, only one suggests public financing will be sought, we’ll be keeping our eyes out.   After all,  the employee’s of Don Allen, nor the dealership itself, should not have their tax dollars used to subsidize their own demise.  Moreover, let’s not forget that there are many other local Pittsburgh natives already paying taxes and in the business in which this new development will compete.  In other words, it’d be morally wrong for their tax dollars to be used to compete with them.

Unfortunately, that’s an all too common problem here in Pittsburgh, and a reason why many local operations close shop.  Newly arriving competition is lured in by the Pittsburgh region’s politicians, who don’t seem to care they’re burying the locals by using tax incentives to put the long-time resident out of work. Other times we end up with the stupidity that was the Lazarus building or the infamous Allegheny Center in the North Side.

Government’s only job should be to get out of the way and certainly not pickpocket hard working residents to lure in their competition.

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