Are leaders doing what’s best for the county’s citizens?

Published 3:20 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When I read in The Farmville Herald about the tax credit to Holiday Inn Express (“Incentives approved for Holiday Inn Express,” July 29), it angered me. It angered me that our county and town leaders have no idea what the citizens of this area need and no care for what we deserve.

When my neighbors on Bradshaw Lane, in Rice, or Rainbow Lane, in Meherrin, who pay property taxes, both real estate and personal, but can’t get their roads surfaced or paved … when our schools scrape by and fall short $300,000 and stand in disrepair … or when our citizens, especially our younger and medium age, can’t find adequate paying career employment — yet we are willing to give up much needed revenue citizens deserve?

I find it funny how we, as a county, can increase property taxes, assessments, fees and licenses on the citizens, small businesses and farmers who have helped to build and sustain what we have, yet allow those who prosper the most off of this county a virtually free ride.

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The Tobacco Indemnification and Enterprise Zone was created to improve the lives of this and other counties’ citizens. However, in the past and now, too many receive these funds while not creating jobs with higher wages nor are they improving the lives of the citizens of Prince Edward County. Look at how many have received these benefits but are no longer around or have not generated well-paying or sustainable full-time career jobs for our citizens.

Many would ask me: Kenneth, what would you have done? First, I would have ensured companies who wish to come here have a plan to build — for when a company or business invests, they’re less likely to sell or leave. Second, can they provide employees with a living wage and a career? Third, give a 15 percent to 20 percent yearly tax break for five to eight years, giving the county 80 percent of tax revenue to do the things we need to.

During my 11 years here, I have seen more businesses close than open; more businesses lay off than hire. I have talked to more young and medium-age citizens out of work than having the ability to get work. I find it funny how many of our county’s leaders stand on the platform and principles of the Democratic Party, which call for good adequate wage jobs, availability of health care and food, yet don’t increase funding to our free clinic or FACES Food Pantry. They talk of good education, yet let our schools stand outdated and tattered; of improving our infrastructure, yet our roads are in disrepair.

We as a county and its citizens cannot afford, nor better ourselves by giving up revenue or throwing tax dollars which should improve our lives and our county, to special interests, cronies or anyone who comes along with a quick slick idea.

Kenneth W. Jackson lives in Rice, and is a co-founder of the new Prince Edward County Democratic Republic Committee. His email address is