Last week, when the Cordish Company announced a new $250 million development plan for downtown Louisville, several naysayers responded with comments like, "We shouldn't be spending money on stuff like this, when we can't even get a bridge built."
Some people also insist we shouldn't spend hundreds of millions in tax money on a new arena when our schools are in desperate need of funds.
But these are examples of comparing apples and oranges.
In the case of the Cordish plan, we're talking about private investment - not tax money. I doubt Cordish is willing to spend 250 million of its own dollars to buy us a bridge. And if they did, I'm pretty sure they'd charge a five or ten buck toll to make back their investment.
Think anyone wants that?
And in the case of the arena vs. schools - sure, tax money is involved in both cases. But the arena will earn back most - if not all - of its expense in tax revenue.
School expenditures don't pay for themselves in the same way. They're just as important, but a lot harder to pay for. That's just reality.
I'm not downplaying the value of bridges and schools. But I think it's important to point out the difference between public and private money, and projects that generate tax revenue and those that don't.
If everyone can keep those differences in mind, our public debates over the best ways to invest in our future will be a lot more productive.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.