Bacon Bits: Boomtowns, Amazon, and Rent-a-Tribe

Pockets of prosperity. America’s big metropolitan regions may be sucking up most of the growth and prosperity of the current business cycle, but they’re not sucking up all of it. In crunching data measuring economic prosperity, population growth and rising incomes, GOBankingRates found numerous “cities” (not metros) that qualify as “boomtowns.” One region stood out as especially vigorous: the South. And Virginia nabbed two spots in the top 10, reports CNBC.

Charlottesville ranked 6th among cities in the South with 2012 -to-2017 income growth of 17.9%, population growth of 11.9%, and GDP growth of 22.4%.

Richmond ranked 9th in the South with income growth of 15% over the same period, population growth of 7.6%, and GDP growth of 22.4%.

Can Amazon avoid a housing crunch? Amazon officials have told the Washington Post that the company will learn from its experience in Seattle how to avoid creating a housing crunch when its HQ2 expansion brings 25,000 jobs to a Washington region that already has full employment and high housing prices. Amazon contributed $80 million to public and private efforts to support affordable housing and prevent homelessness in Seattle, said Jay Carney, a senior vice president. But he added that it is primarily the government’s responsibility to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing.

In Seattle, Amazon’s explosive employment growth caught everyone by surprise, said Carney. In Virginia, the company knows what to expect, so “we can plan in a way we couldn’t in the past.” But Carney provided no specific policy ideas for keeping housing affordable.

A meme in the making: “Rent-a-Tribe.” Federal prosecutors are charging an Internet lender operating as an enterprise of the Lac View Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of defrauding Virginians in a predatory lending scheme. In a legal brief, several state Attorney General offices, including Virginia’s Mark Herring commented upon the “rent-a-tribe” scheme: “Enforcing consumer protection laws has only become more difficult with the advent of tribal payday lending schemes, in which non-tribal lenders affiliate with Indian tribes to attempt to benefit from their tribal immunity.” A spokesman for the tribe told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that “rent-a-tribe” insinuation was “an offensive slur.”

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7 responses to “Bacon Bits: Boomtowns, Amazon, and Rent-a-Tribe

  1. yeah… I read the WaPo article on Amazon and unless I missed it, I did not see that the “plan” was that was to avoid the problem in Seattle.

    I’m not a believer that “only” if cities “allowed” less restrictive rules they could have “affordable housing”. Have not even seen any claimed examples of the advocated changes along with proven results. It seems more like just another unfounded “belief” from those who just want to believe it rather than real numbers from real places that got real changes.

    BUT – if Amazon says it wants to do it …but it’s really not their “responsibility” and there is no articulated “plan” – it comes across as uber lip service.

  2. What is the “recipe” for “affordable housing? Not “ideas” that people believe but real things actually implemented that are proven to work.

    What cities have implemented these “recipes” and have achieved some level of success?

    And the big question – if there are cities that have succeeded – why is it such a mystery for other cities to adopt the “known” things that work?

    And one more quibble – If a city gives incentives to a company like Amazon – and then Amazon says that’s it’s the city’s responsibility to address the affordable housing issue – and the city does not or claims they will or have but has no “performance” goals then why are the opponents to Amazon – wrong?

    There’s a big disconnect between the desire to get Amazon and dealing with the housing impacts.. it’s almost like they are two separate things.

  3. Those CNBC rankings drive me nuts. Charlottesville and Miami on the same list? Miami (the city) has about 500,000 people. Charlottesville (the city) has about 50,000 people. If Reston were a city it would be notably larger than Charlottesville.

    Virginia is so muddled in its jurisdictional structure that every survey of cities, towns or counties has to be “de-Virginiafied” before it makes any sense.

    However, congrats to Richmond – a legitimate small city.

  4. A spokesman for the tribe told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that “rent-a-tribe” insinuation was “an offensive slur.”

    Presumably “rent” isn’t the slur so it must be “tribe” … no? Uh oh William & Mary, Uh oh!!

  5. “But he added that it is primarily the government’s responsibility to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing.”

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It is exclusively the government’s responsibility to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing. Another responsibility where government has failed from Seattle to New York and all fast growing points in between.

  6. Since when did it become a government responsibility to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing!!!

    • when did it become the responsibility of govt? Indeed – the Libertarian types here in BR claim it’s the responsibility of the private sector “market” BUT that Govt IS at fault because it’s land-development rules are too strict and do not allow enough density and uses like apartment garages, mother-in-law apts, etc. Govt also IS responsible for transportation and mobility, water, sewer, schools, parks, libraries, etc which ARE impacted by land-development and density.

      However if there is a view that the govt is NOT responsible for housing “affordability” – how come that view is not being expressed when companies like Amazon are coming? Why aren’t those voices represented that Amazon should come and the govt should NOT be responsible for or make commitments for affordable housing – that the “market” will do that?

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