Invest tax money in development
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 10:00 PM
Economic development is important to Montgomery County. There has been a lot published in these pages about how economic development is being carried out here.
Let us be clear. We think tax money needs to be invested in economic development. County Commissioner Phil Bane's plan to increase the amount of money allotted toward economic development by five-fold is not a bad plan. There have already been examples of businesses that have not chosen Montgomery County because there was no mechanism in place to provide quick answers. Bane's plan would fix that.
It is also important to note that all the money would not be given to MCED. There is a difference between economic development efforts and the formal organization known as Montgomery County Economic Development. We believe it is wise on the county's part to continue holding back a bit on MCED until solid plans are proposed and adopted.
Still, it is a huge amount of money devoted to economic development.
The reality is that Montgomery County is in competition with other counties just as Indiana is in competition with other states for economic development. That's a fact. It's also a fact that some property owners could find higher property taxes as a result of this move. It is also a fact that the Local Option Income Tax will be decreased.
The devil is in the details and it is actually easy to get lost in those details. The important point, by far the very most important point, is that economic development efforts in this county need to improve. That does mean additional funding. It is easy to sit back and gripe about government spending. In the case of spending money on economic development we applaud the effort.
When the business climate improves, everyone benefits. There are more jobs and the property tax levy decreases. If economic development doesn't work, property taxes across the board could rise if the tax levy is increased.
We should be careful to not criticize efforts at economic development if they fail. But we should be critical when nothing substantial is being done to build the local economy.