The IBJ recently reported that Indiana is advertising on billboards in New York, during the Super Bowl, in what appears to be an effort to get businesses to move here. The ads tout Indiana’s low, low business taxes.
As the IBJ points out, however, while low taxes may be great for employers,
if industrious workers are looking for a place to thrive, evidence strongly suggests they’re better off in New York City—and, really, just about any major city besides Indianapolis. Which is to say, we rank very poorly in upward mobility. A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research weighed the chances of a person from the bottom 20th economic percentile (poor) being able to reach the upper 20th percentile (rich) in different cities. NYC ranked sixth; Indy ranked 46th. Your odds are quite low. MarketWatch has an in-depth look at the report and its findings.
As I’ve previously noted, New York City is safer than Indianapolis; its crime rate is substantially lower than ours. My husband and I get to the Big Apple pretty often–our middle son lives in Manhattan–and I can attest to the city’s superior public amenities and services: a robust bike sharing program, well-maintained parks, great public transportation, efficient snow removal…the list goes on.
Indianapolis cannot claim any of these things. Some people like big cities, others don’t, and that’s a different issue, but it is indisputable that we rank lower than New York (and lower than many, if not most, other metropolitan areas) on virtually every public administration metric.
Some of this reflects poor management, but a lot of it is because Hoosiers’ faith-based economic policies have starved local government.
As this is written, the General Assembly is preparing to pass yet another business tax break–without identifying offsetting revenue for the state’s strapped cities and towns. The result will be fatter wallets for Hoosier employers (aka political donors), and an even worse quality of life for ordinary citizens.
Local government warnings that further revenue cuts will be devastating have fallen on deaf ears. According to one legislator, the lower taxes will generate new jobs and those jobs will make up the lost taxes. That has been the justification for virtually every previous tax reduction, but the jobs–and added revenues– have consistently failed to materialize. (“13 Investigates” reports that IEDC has “cooked the books” for years in order to mask that inconvenient fact.)
I have a suggested tag line for that ad campaign: Indiana! Making Mississippi look good.