Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Big Business Again Trumped Little Guy ; COMMUNITY COMMENT

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Big Business Again Trumped Little Guy ; COMMUNITY COMMENT

Article excerpt

The ageless wit Oscar Wilde once observed, "The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it." True to form, the powers of the 2014 Indiana General Assembly have wasted little time barking their wares from atop the sales pyramid.

Even before our work had wrapped up, our governor had issued a video complimenting the Legislature's accomplishments. He was quickly echoed by the leaders of his supermajorities in the Indiana House and Senate.

Our leaders are selling soap we've bought before. Cutting corporate taxes again. Cutting bank taxes again. And the free toaster in the deal? Forcing Indiana counties to race each other to slash the business personal property tax.

These moves will be lauded by the shareholders and board room chieftains who hulk over Indiana politics. They'll be happy to add new taxpayer donations to their balance sheets.

And most never even asked for them.

On the other hand, consumers, workers, and individual taxpayers - who already bear most of Indiana's tax burden - are not guaranteed much in return for hundreds of millions in lost revenue. In a state that already has a top-10 business tax climate, there is no evidence these changes will prompt anyone to add a single job or raise a single worker's wage.

It is the very definition of a "jobless creation" plan.

So what did we overpay for all this? We gave away valuable resources that might help solve Indiana's most pressing problems. How will we educate Hoosiers to reverse the 10-year decline in our household incomes? How will women get new job skills in a state where their wages lag behind men? How will we increase the number of Hoosiers with a college degree or vocational skills and keep them here?

Given these upside down priorities, perhaps we must laud it as a minor miracle that Indiana will now join 40 other states in starting a pre-K program even if ours is only a pilot program. We are also going to unleash some dollars to repair state road and bridges, at least for a while. Those are good things. They demonstrate our capacity to look ahead and invest in the future. It also shows that we are capable of making better decisions than we often do. …

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