Sunday, September 19

Press-release economics

Pickerill on press-release economics
By John Pickerill, Montgomery County (Indiana) GOP Party Chair

The bizarre economic theory of government-planned economic development is a disturbing one. I think Craig Ladwig of The Indiana Policy Review said it best in his article titled, “Keeping the Crony Out of Capitalism.” He explains that if you look at the annual reports from all the various economic development outfits around Indiana, you will be impressed… as long as you don’t ask too many questions. The reports suggest thousands of jobs were created with hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment. And whatever it was that was accomplished, was accomplished through “teamwork and collaboration.”

“Welcome to the world of economic development — where every city is above average and prosperity is just around the corner if you trust your community’s well-being to bond issues, tax-incremental financing (TIF), tax credits, carve-outs and such.”

This all sounds frighteningly familiar to us in Montgomery County. Several local politicians are selling us on the notion that if citizens merely hand over more taxes for economic development projects “we can make Montgomery County great again.” Without it, they tell us, we’ll face certain economic doom and gloom. And so county taxpayers hand over $75,000 a year, and city taxpayers another $75,000 on top of that. Oh, and if you want to know what that tax money is being spent on, tough luck. Montgomery County Economic Development corporation (a.k.a.,“Indiana West Advantage”) says it isn’t going to tell you.

But David Penticuff, a veteran editor in Grant County who supported legislation to open the records of economic development groups to public inspection, asks why all the secrecy. “The state and local economic-development groups are not conducting clandestine operations for national security; they are trying to lure capitalists to town. We need to be able to follow our tax dollars with the public invited along and make a judgment on whether those dollars are used wisely by those spending them.”

Continue reading at The Paper of Montgomery County: Pickerill on press-release economics.