Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

January 29, 2014

MORTON MARCUS: Just when is enough enough?

From what I understand, most Hoosiers are more concerned about the economy than they are about same-sex marriage, alcohol at the State Fair or any of the other inconsequential matters now occupying the General Assembly.

Why is that body moving to lower corporate income taxes and to eliminate the business personal property tax? Do they have evidence this will create jobs or raise wages in Indiana? No; they operate on faith. They contentedly believe economics as simplified and taught to freshmen, rather than considering the complexities of the real world.

When will local politicians stop believing they can make their cities “world-class” by subsidizing the owners of sports teams? The latest example is a proposal by a new soccer team to fund a stadium in Indianapolis. This follows on the heels of the cricket field being advanced by the mayor of Indianapolis.

Isn’t it time to stop property tax abatements supporting just about any business that fantasizes increasing jobs in any town? As most responsible economic development officials admit, such aid is marginal at best in luring a firm to invest. Nonetheless, when the XYZ Corp. wants to add some new machinery or move to town, it is hard to find a local council that can say NO to property tax abatement.

For many years, I was an advocate of property tax abatement. Now, however, it has become a customary and expected subsidy rather than a key and meaningful component of business expansion and attraction. It would not be so serious, if the General Assembly had not been reducing local government powers and revenues for so long.

For decades, our legislators offered lip-service to resolving the problems of Indiana’s shrinking rural communities. Aside from study committees and election-time speeches, nothing substantive is done.

Perhaps nothing can be done to revive towns like Dugger. Perhaps the only small communities that can survive are those swept up in the growth of metropolitan areas. Maybe even larger communities, like Logansport and Portland, will experience more decades of relative decline.

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Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
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