The Washington Post reported Thursday that National Public Radio, long a taxpayer-subsidized sandbox for Sixties-retread liberalism, has decided to keep its headquarters in the District of Columbia -- thanks to a huge 20-year property tax holiday. "Neil O. Albert, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said that NPR will not pay property taxes on the building for 20 years, saving $40 million. The city has agreed not to raise property taxes by more than 3 percent on the station's Massachusetts Avenue building for two decades, or until NPR sells it."
Reporters Yolanda Woodlee and Miranda Spivack also reported other local property owners were incensed at the special dealing as their taxes multiply:
Nicholas Deoudes, who owns three buildings less than a mile from the future NPR location, said that his property taxes increased last year from $13,614 to $36,151. Deoudes, who has owned the buildings for 29 years, said the city needs to help longtime business owners who stayed when the area was a "ghost town."
"That's criminal," Deoudes said about the NPR deal. "My assessments went up . . . while somebody else got it for 20 years with no property taxes. They're handing out benefits to the big guys and leaving the small-time guys like myself and my tenant out of business. We're picking up the tab for somebody else."
Mayor Adrian Fenty declared NPR could have gone anywhere (and they talked good and long to officials in Silver Spring, just across the District line), "adding that the 20-year tax abatements and planned street improvements in the neighborhood were necessary incentives."
This is apparently another sterling chapter in the story of public broadcasting's exploitation of the "private-public partnership" concept. Remember this the next time one of NPR's liberal commentators like Daniel Schorr complain that in these hard times, Americans have not been asked to sacrifice enough.