Letters to the editor

State law suggests Benteler site doesn’t meet revitalization specifications

In the year’s first Goshen City Council meeting, I was the lone vote against designating 910 Eisenhower Dr. S. an “Economic Revitalization Area.” I’m writing to add context to that vote.

According to Indiana law, an Economic Revitalization Area (ERA) is an area “...which has become undesirable for, or impossible of, normal development and occupancy because of a lack of development, cessation of growth, deterioration of improvements or character of occupancy, age, obsolescence, substandard buildings, or other factors which have impaired values or prevent a normal development of property or use of property.”

The bulk of the Jan. 7 meeting was devoted to discussing Benteler Automotive’s planned expansion, but council’s legal task was to evaluate the parcel of land against the state’s ERA definition. I don’t believe a parcel within Goshen’s thriving industrial park is experiencing conditions which prevent normal development or property usage, so I voted accordingly. The vote wasn’t a judgment on Benteler’s plan, which is clearly positive for the company and for Goshen.

Benteler’s plant also sits in a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district — and Goshen’s ordinance prohibits granting tax phase-ins (tax breaks) within such districts. Our ordinance allows for exceptions for economic diversification that’s “resistant to normal economic cycles;” but the automotive industry is known to fluctuate with the economy (unlike, say, toilet paper manufacturing — because people buy toilet paper even when their paychecks shrink).

We can’t give tax breaks to all companies. When we do give incentives, they should be carefully targeted and consistent with our ordinance.

Finally, in 2018, according to its website, Benteler Automotive had a global revenue stream of roughly $8 billion (with a “b”) dollars. Goshen’s budget was roughly $47 million. Am I really to believe that its expansion plan is dependent on Goshen’s tax break?

Julia King, Goshen City Council, at-large

State legislators playing ‘wizard’ with teacher pay

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” the Wizard says to Dorothy as Toto reveals him spinning wheels and screaming into a mic. The House supermajority is doing exactly that as the Indiana General Assembly returns. In this case, Dorothy is Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick as she calls out their hypocrisy and questions their intent.

These leaders claim that local school boards and administrators are at fault for misusing or hiding funds that the House has sent them. They would like to distract the local communities and educators from the fact that they have not invested in public education adequately to keep up with our neighbors.

Facts are hard to deny. Public schools use an average of 11% of their funds for administrative costs. Charters use 25%, and private schools taking vouchers, well we will never know. In the last decade they have added 2,200 regulations to K-12 law in Title 20 code forcing the schools to add enforcement officers and coaches. Overall administrative numbers are actually down 29-46% statewide.

The public should not be distracted by the con men. Pay attention to the real problems and who is the cause.

Amy Stine, Elkhart

Questions for those who believe impeachment is a sham

There are those who say the impeachment of Trump is a sham. I have a few questions for them.

You would be OK on the 2008 election if the new president — having known of any hint of interference from a foreign country — did nothing about it?

You would be OK if he fired two attorneys general for not stopping an investigation into this matter?

You would be OK with the new president meeting with this leader and telling him our president believes him over our own intelligence agencies?

You would be OK with this new president not hiding his business conflict of interests while serving as president?

You would be OK if this new president stole funding for soldiers’ homes for a pet project just to get re-elected?

This is why I believe anyone else would have been impeached by now. I include most Republicans.

As to the current impeachment, why haven’t the Republicans pushed for witnesses “in the know” to testify for Trump? Oh wait, Trump told them not to testify. Back in the day this would have been contempt of Congress.

The irony is this might be avoided had the Republicans done their jobs. You know that goofy thing in the Constitution that gives each branch the power of checks and balances. The leaders could have at least written a letter to Trump telling him his stuff could be impeachable and it would put them in an awkward sport.

My theory is they made a deal with Trump. That’s why McConnell is working so hard for Trump. So much for a fair trial. In a criminal case this cold be witness tampering.

Yet, on all this I still have hope. Whatever happens God is with us.

Brian Hartman, Wakarusa

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