Botkin eyes tax money to fund his boondoggle

Kitsap County’s Music Man is trying to bamboozle you with his snappy patter again. But unlike Harold Hill in the beloved Broadway musical, Tim Botkin isn’t about to let you off with with something as cheap as an imaginary marching band.

Not by half, he isn’t. The former county commissioner aims to separate Kitsap’s cash-strapped coffers from a cool $1 million to fund his Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project — and that’s only the beginning.

Botkin, speaking in Silverdale last week at a forum sponsored by the West Sound Technology Professionals Association, urged attendees to pressure the current commissioners to follow through on a pledge to pump $1 million into SEED.

And why? Apparently because he can’t find anyone else who will.

The Washington State Legislature allocated $200,000 to the project — far less than the $800,000 Botkin had requested — and indicated no more would be forthcoming. SEED also missed out on an economic development grant earlier this month.

As for the private sector, “We’re not going to get companies to invest in a blank slate,” Botkin said.

Memo to Kitsap County taxpayers: There’s probably a reason private investors won’t put their money into Botkin’s scheme.

They don’t think it will work. And if it won’t work, why does Botkin expect you to pump your hard-earned dollars into it?

Aside from the $71,000 contract he got from the commissioners of the Port of Bremerton (yes, the same ones you have to thank for that nice bump last year in your property taxes) to develop this boondoggle, that is.

Let’s be clear here. There’s nothing wrong with the concept of sustainable energy. But the point is, we operate under a capitalist economy for a reason — because the free market does a far better job of making decisions about what’s economically viable than hucksters like Tim Botkin.

If there were money to be made right now developing the kinds of whiz-bang technologies Botkin is promoting, private investors would be lined up to be a part of it. Instead, what we have is an assortment of fly-by-nighters who can only work on their vision when subsidized by taxpayers who demand nothing in the way of actual results.

Botkin’s right about one thing, though. If you believe in SEED, you need to contact your elected representatives.

And vice versa, we hasten to add.

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