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Survey: Bend Businesses Want More Handouts 

The Bend Chamber of Commerce did a survey of its members and – surprise, surprise – most of them thought the city should be doing more to help people like them.

According to The Bulletin’s account on Tuesday, about 64% of those responding to the on-line survey answered “no” when asked if they thought Bend was friendly to business. Chamber Executive Director Tim Casey said it wasn’t so much that they thought the city was downright hostile as that they perceived it as indifferent: “They don’t feel like the city is going out of their way to take care of businesses.”

How should the city be taking care of businesses? Well, two-thirds of those responding said it should provide more incentives to encourage existing businesses to expand and new businesses to locate here. About the same number said Systems Development Charges (SDCs) were hurting job growth. And 72% complained about high income taxes – something the city has nothing to do with.

Speaking of incentives, ironically enough the same issue of the paper carried a front-page story describing how Epic Air apparently is under investigation by the FBI. The city sunk $140,000 of its own money into Epic and landed another $1.3 million in state loans and grants on the promise that the company would create 400 jobs; it folded after creating only 159 at its peak.

Hopefully the city won’t give an undue amount of weight to the Chamber’s survey results. For one thing, only 138 people bothered to respond – about 10% of the Chamber’s membership of roughly 1,300 and a microscopically tiny fraction of Bend’s total population of more than 81,000.

And you know damn well that most of the people who want taxpayers to be more generous with handouts to business are the same ones who scream “Socialism!” at any mention of health care reform or any other government policy that might benefit ordinary working stiffs.

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