The defacto Governor caught with his ideological pants down:
In several interviews this month, Pope said he did not think the Rural Center grant had any effect on the lease terms – and he suggested his company did not know about the Rural Center’s aid as the deal came together. “There was no knowledge and no involvement of how the work was done on that (shopping) center owned by the developer and where his source of funding came from,” Pope said.
As I've mentioned before, in many cases, rural development projects simply won't happen in the absence of government grants, and this one is no different. There's nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong with a man who would take advantage from that and then lie about it to save his much-lauded Libertarian reputation:
Documents show that on Aug. 15, 2012, the chief operating officer at Variety Wholesalers, C. Wilson Sawyer, wrote a “job commitment” letter to the developer that said the store would hire at least 25 full-time employees. Of those, 22 were cashiers or associates to be paid about $14,000 a year.
Sawyer wrote in the letter that a condition of Variety Wholesalers’ lease was that the developer would be able to obtain a grant for the site.
Get that? Art Pope's right-hand-man made it clear that without government assistance, Variety Wholesalers wasn't going to suit up, much less play in this game. Which makes the following:
“They like to claim credit for everything,” Pope said. “They like to build up IOUs because, ‘We helped you.’ In this particular case, I’d say it was Variety Wholesalers who creates the jobs when we open the stores and sell products at a good price and the customers want to shop there and it, in turn, allows us to pay our employees and pay our rent. That’s what creates the jobs. Not a grant.”
somewhere between disingenuous and delusional. This is standard stuff from Libertarians, who automatically filter out any positive influences government has had on any successful economic formula. Once they've happened, that is. Not unlike a mental patient who doesn't connect the dots between feeling okay and the medicine they take every day.
But in Pope's case, I'm pretty sure he knows exactly how important government assistance is to the revitalization of rural areas. He just doesn't care, because it conflicts with the religion he's built up around himself.