That depends on who you ask and what you believe. An Ole Seagull sure would like the answers to the following questions before he makes his final decision. Each question is followed by the reason it’s asked.
Q1: Does the city of Branson have any study indicating that its existing indoor water parks, lodging, mountain slides, and zip lines lack the capacity to meet the needs of its visitors?
REASON: Why give government financial incentives to create additional capacity in these areas unless its needed?
Q2: Does the City of Branson have any study indicating that a substantial number of potential visitors, about 600,000, are not coming to Branson because its existing indoor water parks, lodging, mountain slides, and zip lines do not meet their needs.
REASON: If not why are they even considering this proposal?
Q3. How does the city justify giving financial incentives, not available to its other existing business, to enable new business to compete against them, when such competition would, “but for” such financial incentives, not be there?
REASON: It has been said that the proposed TIF development would not be in competition against Branson’s existing businesses. The publicly stated elements of the Project consist of an indoor water park, a one acre outdoor water park, lodging, zip lines, mountain slides, and a white water kayaking component. Of those, only the white water kayaking component would not be in direct competition with existing Branson Businesses.
An Ole Seagull fully comprehends and understands that competition is an inherent part of doing business. It should be pointed out however, that no business or developer has a right to government financial incentives, such as a TIF, that the majority of businesses do not get. That is especially so when the incentives are being used to develop competition for existing businesses that would not be there but for that financial assistance.
Q4: Will the Branson School District get any financial benefit over the next 23 years from the Development or will they get stiffed like they did in past TIFs?
REASON: Both the Commissioners from the School District voted against the resolution and the Ole Seagull has not seen any public statement to the contrary.
Q5: Why would the city give financial incentives to build something that will create hundreds of jobs, with pay and positions, very similar to the types of jobs that can’t be filled now and do not pay enough to support a family?
REASON: It just seems crazy!
Q6: Has the project incorporated any “work place housing” to house the hundreds of workers it claims they will employ?
REASON: Worker housing is currently a problem Branson is dealing with. Why provide financial incentives to a project that will just exasperate the situation?
Q7: Do you believe that Branson Adventures outdoor water park, ziplines, mountain coasters, and white water kayaking will be operating anywhere near capacity any more months a year than Branson’s existing outdoor water parks, ziplines, mountain coasters, and kayaking operations?
REASON: Unless that’s so, the only thing that will be operating 12 months a year will be the indoor water park and lodging.
Q8: Are there any studies that have been made public showing what percentage of the tax revenues that Branson Adventures is claiming they will generate will be cannibalized from existing businesses?
REASON: In his heart of heart, an Ole Seagull just has to feel that’s going to be the case.
An Ole Seagull has always admired Glen Robinson for what he has done with Grand Country. A man with a vision who, like many others in Branson, invested his own money, sweat, passion, and blood to develop one of the finest resort and entertainment venues in Branson. It just doesn’t seem fair that he, and others, should have to compete against competition that wouldn’t be there but for the financial assistance of government; it just doesn’t seem fair.