Watch that step [Editorial]

thendricks@theaegis.com

Around here, there’s a saying” isn’t it nice?” As in isn’t this nice, or isn’t that nice?

Fairly often, those questions arise.

This time, isn’t it nice Aberdeen is considering giving tax breaks for new employees as an incentive to have them work and live in the community? Well, yeah, it’s nice Aberdeen is trying to attract the people who depend on the city for their livelihood to fully embrace the community where they work.

In another time and another world, it was more of the norm for people to live in the same community where they worked. That changed glacially over the decades to where we have reached the point that both heads of a household have to work and where they live is often seen as something of the midpoint between the places where each works.

Generally, working in the community where you live is seen these days as more of a luxury than a given. Providing a tax break as an enticement to get someone to live in your community is more palatable than the old standard of requiring employees to live where they work. Besides not being allowed by law, it’s also distasteful to put that kind of onus on workers who live outside Aberdeen’s city limits.

Perhaps, they’ve found a better deal. Since 2007, Bel Air has been offering a tax break to anyone taking work with the town government.

“It’s a wonderful benefit, and it does help us attract and retain employees to the Town of Bel Air,” Michael Krantz, Bel Air’s director of human resources and administration, said.

The town benefits, too, Krantz said.

“It encourages employees to take that much more pride in the town and, of course, they take a greater pride in their job,” Krantz said.

Pride of ownership is a good thing and encouraging a municipal government’s employees to live where they work, even if it costs the government a few extra dollars, is a good thing.

From the no good deed goes unpunished department, Aberdeen needs to be cautious about incentives that only target newcomers or new homeowners in the city. Those who have been working for the city and living in Aberdeen for years, could take it as a slight clearly favoring those the city is trying to entice over those who have been living it for years.

Too often, governments just take and take and take. Whenever one decides to look out for those it represents, be it a tax break or some other deal, we’re all for it.

That’s the case in Aberdeen, so long as those making the decision understand the offer has its perils.

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