Scott Tibbs
blog post
June 20th, 2005

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Bait and switch

Greg Travis uses a bait and switch to make his point in his column at the Bloomington Alternative. He asks why people say Bloomington and/or Monroe County is "anti-business" when we have a strong business community.

The elephant in the living room is Indiana University. IU provides left-leaning voters who will put Democrats in power while serving as an economic engine to soften (or eliminate) the economic impact of the anti-business policies Democrats establish. Indiana University, a state institution, is not going to go away like GE and Otis Elevator. Were it not for Indiana University, Bloomington would not be nearly as economically vibrant as it is.

Travis also has the tendency to speak of "corporate subsidies" when addressing conservative claims that this community is "anti-business". I have been active in local politics for nearly a decade, and when most people I know talk about this area being "anti-business" they are not referring to the lack of incentives for business to come here, but to the barriers to economic growth that city and county government have either put in place or tried to put in place. These include the Minimum lot requirement, restrictions on temporary signs, restrictive city controls on sewer hookups, and the ban on smoking in "public places".

What is going to be interesting is what happens over the next four years in the county. Democratic control of the county Plan Commission is assured until after the 2008 elections. Kevin Enright, a "Green Democrat", took the spot Vic Farkas held on the Plan Commission until January, and Joyce Poling gives the Democrats an effective 2-1 majority on the County Commissioners. Republicans would have to win all four County Council districts in 2006 to add a Republican representative to the Plan Commission, and that is not going to happen.

Where are we going to stand in June of 2009 with regard to Bloomington and Monroe County's friendliness to economic development? Wherever we wind up, it is going to be an interesting ride.