Home > Political Animal > Coats’ red herring, and Edy’s ‘fesses up
Coats’ red herring, and Edy’s ‘fesses up
By Jim Sack
Fort Wayne Reader
Two recent editorials by our Senator Dan Coats in the News Sentinel make you wonder where ever does he find the time? If it’s not jetting around the world to one trouble spot after another, or making every last vote on the Senate floor, or showing up at fund raisers around the state, he is always on the move. He even has time to peck Marsha on the cheek at the end of a long day resolving Medicare disputes.
The more deceptive article of the two was about that evil old Environmental Protection Agency “taking aim on Hoosier Families.” Senator Coats argues that new EPA regulations restricting pollution will cost us all, as if the toxic waste our power plants spew into the air and water and with which they coat the land, does not!
You already pay for pollution through limited recreation (our rivers are sewers) and the degradation of your health through the toxic bad air you breath and the chemicals in the soil and your tomatoes, not to mention the additional costs of treating water to make it safe to drink. Those cost are just not as obvious as that dollar rate increase with which he is trying to scare you.
Perhaps, you read recently that Hoosiers boat, fish and drink from the most polluted waterways in the entire country. Worse than New Jersey, worst than all the other 49. Senator Coats is simply trying to distract you from the costs of real pollution by scaring you with another hike on your electric bill. He notes Hoosiers are 80 percent dependent on coal.
How did we get to the point that we in Indiana depend upon the dirtiest source of energy available? And, why in the world would he be crusading to keep our air, water and soil filthy from pollution? Why? Perhaps they are his biggest contributors, perhaps?
Senator Coats is shilling for lazy, selfish big coal in Indiana which is more interested in shareholder profit than your health. Only in print, as a red herring, does he worry about “Hoosier Families. ”
Truth be told, humans can adjust more easily to a rate increase than emphysema.
As you know, abatements, for the most part, are bottom line enhancers for businesses that seldom produce the promised jobs. Call it a charade. Employers promise jobs in exchange for a tax break, their taxes are cut, but the jobs seldom materialize. They blame it on the economy, unforeseen circumstance, or the cycles of the moon. What was once meant to revive challenged sections of town and bring jobs to pockets of poverty has been “modified” so that all of Allen County is now technically “blighted” and jobs really don’t have to be created for a company to get a handsome tax break.
That’s the case with Edy’s Grand Ice Cream’s $18 million project just up Wells. They promise no new jobs — not one — based on their application. At least they are honest about that, which is better than most of the companies that apply and never, ever quite reach their goals of job creation.
The Edy’s project revolves around the purchase of new equipment to make their facility more productive and more efficient. One can guess that most of the $18 million in new equipment will come from other than Fort Wayne shops, probably German and Chinese factories. So, Edy’s will save about $1 million in taxes that would have gone to fund schools, roads and other infrastructure and “amenities,” such as the library. The abatement will enhance the bottom line of the multi-national parent company, Nestle, based in Vevey, Switzerland.
This is one major reason your taxes went up last year; to make up for the hundreds of millions in abatements given away by city council that padded bottom lines in Vevey, Dallas and New York, and helped the likes of Vera Bradley ship jobs to China.
A recent story in the Journal-Gazette noted that since 2000 poverty has increased in Allen County. Makes you kinda wonder what all those millions spent on local economic development programs have gotten us?
Every year city council gifts something like $500,000 to the various economic development “teams” that “fight” to bring jobs to this part of the state. Additionally, city and county governments have staff who compliment the efforts of the quasi-private champions of economic development.
That means in the year since 2000 we have spent something close to $20 million on sales and marketing and have nothing to show for it; in fact, local average wages have barely risen compared to the rest of the nation. Full time jobs are still scarce and measurements of poverty have risen.
One has to wonder whether handing the money out on a street corner would have had the same effect…maybe better.
Watch out, though — if the economic development people hand cash out they will choose Sycamore Hills Drive or on the Marktgasse in Vevey, not your street.