If you missed it, you should go back and catch the "guest columnist" piece Terry Huval had in the Advertiser earlier this week. He walks folks through a by-the-numbers explanation of how In Lieu of Taxes (ILOT) works. it's a clear precise explanation and I can do no better than to suggest that you read it for yourself.
What I can do is telegraph that which would probably be immodest for the director of the Lafayette Utility System to say: LUS has generated vast amounts of wealth for our community.
It does this through a simple but powerful mechanism: what economists call the multiplier effect. This is a kind of positive feedback effect in which each dollar injected into a local community--or kept in that community that would otherwise flow out of it--circulates a number of times before it "leaks" out of the local economy. So a dollar saved has a much greater positive effect on local wealth than just the one dollar.
The way LUS operates results in more money being kept in our community than it would if LUS did not exist. And the money saved generates more wealth as it recirculates in our economy. ILOT is the second of the three generators of wealth that LUS provides this community.
The first is its consistently low prices. Over generations LUS' prices have consistently been cheaper than its regional private competitors. Every penny saved over what would be charged individuals by private providers is money that returns and circulates again and again in our community, creating wealth for all.
The second generator of wealth is ILOT itself. LUS consistently pays more to the local government in ILOT than its private competitors would in local taxes and franchise fees. Every penny paid in ILOT funds government programs that would otherwise have to be paid by local taxes. In this way our citizens enjoy services similar or superior to those of surrounding communities without having to pay the taxes that would otherwise be required.
Harder to quantify but still real is that LUS certainly buys more of its resources from local sources than would its large, private competition.
All three mechanisms drive more money into the local economy than would an outside provider -- and the money multiplies. It isn't simple local patiotism that leads citizens and local governments to believe that locally owned and operated businsses are good for the local community. It is also basic economics.
The net effect of both lower rates, lower taxes, and larger local purchases is to keep money in all our pockets. Money we keep circulates locally and generates wealth here. It is simple and powerful. LUS is and has been good for our economy. Owning our own utilities has been a huge economic advantage for Lafayette.
Owning our own telecom utility will have exactly the same effect. Vote Yes on July 16th!