Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax Dollars ???

December 26, 2008 -

Last week GamePolitics broke the news that Decatur, Georgia was gathering information in the hope of building an avatar-based, virtual world (think Second Life / PlayStation Home) interface for its citizens.

Not surprisingly, there are those who see such a project as a waste of tax dollars.

Conservative blog Say Anything writes:

To help spur economic growth in their community the city leaders in Decatur, Georgia area creating an online virtual version of their city on Second Life.

Because I’m sure that’s just what those in Decatur who are struggling with economic downturn want.  Their tax dollars spent on a video game. I’ve born witness to some pretty sillly moments in economic development history, but this one takes the cake.

The whole idea of keeping taxes high so that politicians can spend the revenue on “developing” the economy is bogus to begin with, but spending those tax dollars on a video game takes a special kind of stupid."
 

Via: inDecatur


Comments

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

I don't think theres anything wrong with government representing itself online to its citizens if its determined that enough of them are on Second Life to make it viable. But I don't see where it would be useful in attracting business development, especially since many corporations attempts at online advertising and the like in Second Life have not been borne out.

In general I'm not a big fan of economic development corporations, and how local towns tend to wield them. More often than not they are used to give ridiculous tax breaks and property subsidies to large corporations, ostensibly to bring in jobs, but often at the expense of smaller locally owned businesses. Many "urban redevelopment" projects push out mom and pop stores for high end chain stores or botiques selling luxury goods. Smaller firms in an area, which are often homegrown, do not receive the large tax breaks larger firms, often in the same industry, receive for often only temporarily reloacting for the length of time the company is given a tax break.

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

As a game developer, critic, and as happenstance would have it, resident of Decatur GA, who received and read the RFI, I'm also unsure about whether or not this is a good idea. But it's worth noting that the city isn't sure of it either. An RFI is just that, a Request For Information, and if you read the document Dennis posted you'll see that the city's primary purpose is to determine how much such an enterprise would cost if they were to pursue it. A focus on frugality is clear in the RFI materials as well.

Decatur has high taxes, a strong local community, and a reputation for focusing on the development of that community, so the idea of creating a virtual social world for its current and potential residents isn't that far afield. After all, aren't we always talking about how socially galvanizing virtual worlds/MMOs are and stuff?

 

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

I dunno for building and getting people to preview the place so they can move to it, its not that bad of a ieda, but like most seemingly good iedas is the price worth the cost.
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Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

 I would agree, it sounds like a bad idea.

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

What? Conservatives afraid and skeptical of technology? Why, I never would have guessed!

The Honest Game - http://www.thehonestgame.org

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Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

In what way is this not a complete waste of taxpayer money? 

But if you'd prefer to harp on your idiotic comment that has no part in this discussion, go for it.  I fail to see how a 'virtual world' will help with their economy, other than to spend a million or two that could go towards something useful.

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

In the same way that the City's municipal Wifi is not a waste of taxdollars. Ie the city probably wont pay for it.

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

I smell a man who has an irrational loyalty to the word 'conservative'

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

I smell a few who have an irrational disdain for it. Sure, they often don't have a great grasp of new techonology, but its hard to see this plan as anything BUT a waste of tax dollars.  Businesses won't be interested, advertisers won't be interested, and there's a good chance residents won't be interested either.

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

Let the Game companies do a Social network, don't let the goverment do it for you(Waste of Tax money for gov, Goverment should only endorse SL or PSH)

 

right now Goverment should stick to fixing the economy so we dont end up in a Great Depression(My 2 cents)

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax

Well, I wouldn't use such an agressive and dismissive tone, but I do agree that it seems like a waste of public money.  Especially in the current economic climate.

 
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james_fudgere: MP, i've sent tech support a note - thank you :)09/23/2014 - 3:14pm
IanCNah that wasnt directed at you Andrew :)09/23/2014 - 3:00pm
Papa MidnightRe: SIEGE 2014 Keynote: oh dear...09/23/2014 - 2:44pm
MaskedPixelanteDear GP, something called "doubleverify" is causing some nasty browser issues on my end. Probably one of your ads.09/23/2014 - 2:36pm
Andrew EisenOh hell no. No, it took Nintendo a dog's age just to get to the point its competitors have been at for a while! (And it's still not there yet, in a lot of respects.)09/23/2014 - 2:26pm
IanCSame as PSN handles it, fi you are trying to say only nintendo do that.09/23/2014 - 2:23pm
Andrew EisenYou have to try to purchase something first. Pick a game, hit purchase and if your wallet doesn't have enough to cover it, you'll be given an option to "add exact funds" or something like that.09/23/2014 - 2:05pm
MonteI have seen no option for that on my 3DS; anytime i want to add funds it only gives me the option to add in denominations of $10, 20, 50 or 10009/23/2014 - 2:03pm
IanCWhat Andrew Wilson said. PSN is the same when you make a purchase over a certain price (£5 in the UK)09/23/2014 - 2:02pm
Andrew EisenNeither eShop charges sales tax either. At least in California.09/23/2014 - 2:00pm
Andrew EisenBoth Wii U and 3DS eShops allow you to add funds in the exact amount of whatever's in your shopping cart. If your game is $39.99, you can add exactly $39.99.09/23/2014 - 1:57pm
Infophile@Matthew Wilson: As I understand it, any regulations to force tax online would also set up an easy database for these stores to use, minimizing overhead.09/23/2014 - 1:30pm
MonteReally, the eshop just does next to nothing to make buying digitally advantagous for the customer. Its nice to have the game on my 3DS, but i can get more for less buying a physical copy at retail. And that's not even counting buying used09/23/2014 - 1:18pm
MonteIanC, The Eshop wallet system only lets you add funds in set denominations and the tax makes sure you no longer have round numbers so you ALWAYS loose money. A $39.99 game for instance requires you to add $50 instead of just $4009/23/2014 - 1:13pm
Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
Neenekoeither that or it would follow the car model of today. big ticket items are taxed according to your residence, not where you buy them.09/23/2014 - 11:07am
NeenekoI doubt it would be the retailer that handles the tax in the first place. If it goes through it would probably be folded in as a service on the processor end or via 'turbotax' style applications.09/23/2014 - 11:05am
Matthew Wilsonsimple there are over 10k tax areas in the us for sales tax. it would be impossible for small online retailers to handle that.09/23/2014 - 10:55am
IanCWhats wrong with charging tax in an online shop?09/23/2014 - 10:47am
E. Zachary KnightI don't see why it would be that difficult to maintain one. Especially for a news outlet with multiple people on the payroll.09/23/2014 - 9:37am
 

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