Friday, November 02, 2007

Not Your Father's Chamber of Commerce

When I used to work for the Illinois House Republican Staff, I often interacted with state and local chambers of commerce. My father had been an active member of the local chamber of commerce when I was growing up. Generally speaking, I found myself more times than not in agreement with their views, such as smaller government, less regulation, lower taxes and economic development pursuits. I thought at one time that's what the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce represented as well, but not anymore. It's given more money to Mayor Peterson's re-election campaign than just about any of his contributors. The Chamber apparently thinks 19 tax increases and a 40% increase in the size of the city budget is good for business in Marion County. From what I see and hear, businesses are moving out of the county to the collar counties in search of something better. The zero job growth in Marion County is pretty good proof that the economic picture isn't looking good here.

From PolisPolitics, we also learn that the Chamber thinks we ought to elect a Democratic-controlled council with Monroe Gray at the helm. Yep, you read that right. The Chamber endorsed Monroe Gray over real estate lawyer Kurt Webber. A career government worker who is ethically-challenged to say the least is a better choice than a bright and successful, self-employed businessman according to the Chamber. If the Chamber-endorsed candidates all win, Democrats will retain control of the council and actually extend its number from 15 to 16. PolisPolitics also points out a glaring error in the Chamber's endorsements. It endorsed all four Democratic at-large candidates plus Republican Kent Smith, even though only four at-large members will be elected.

I don't have a membership in the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. Based upon their support of big-government, tax and spend Democrats, I can't see joining the group at any point in the future. And that's too bad because a Chamber of Commerce really should be on the side of small businesses.


Anonymous said...

Another reason the City of Indianapolis is quickly becoming a cesspool of the midwest. Greed, along with politics, will be its downfall. I pray that the citizens of Indy wake up to the corruption and ineffective leadership on Tuesday. To the Chamber of Commerce...remember, at some point you WILL ALL pay the piper. Of course, if crime continues violently spinning out of control, the precious downtown area will be a ghost town of vagrants, thieves and robbers.

Anonymous said...

let's are going to drop your subscription to the Star...boycott their anyone use places an ad with them, not cooperate with the Chamber of Commerce, ..........what next?

Anonymous said...

Though the "Chamber", as they like to be called, is seen as pro-business, the business interests locally have moved toward a position of advocating for, and becoming even more beholden to, corporate welfare.

The Chamber of Commerce was FOR the new Colts stadium, which funneled $600 million in tax money into building a new home for a team owned by a corporation owned solely by one very wealthy man.

So as I keep saying, when even the Republicans become socialists, watch your wallet.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Chamber is part of "the machine" too. Silly me, I thought a Chamber of Commerce was supposed to be a bipartisan group that supported businesses in a city? You may say, I'm a dreamer....

Anonymous said...

The "Chamber" supported Bart's idea of CONsolidating IPD with MCSD at one of the CCC hearings. Their president at the time said it "sounded like a good idea". Now the new department is a complete mess, understaffed and over budget. I gues the "Chamber" knows goood business sense when they see it.

Anonymous said...

11:51, by whose measure is IMPD a "mess" ?

I keep haring this from a few whining officers, here and on IndyU.

I've had two experiences with IMPD since it merged. Both were professional, prompt and thorough.

I'm hoping for more police officers, just because the presence of more officers is an almost certain deterrent.

I also travel all over the city daily for my business. I have noticed a marked increase in the number of cars I see patrolling. That's not scientific, just an anecdotal observation.

Anonymous said...

One needs to understand that in the not to distant past it was indeed a cold day in hell when the Chamber endorsed a Democratic ticket.
The Republican power brokers put together a group called the City Committee which worked with the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and Lilly Endowment to essentialy dictate public policy and public/private development, specifically downtown Indy. They picked the political leadership in Indianapolis.

Former Republican Lt.Gov.John Mutz was heavily involved. There were no women allowed to be on the City Committee. Louis Mahern was the only Democrat allowed and Bill Crawford was the only Black. For all intents and purposes they ran the city. Lilly Endowment, while in the shadows swung the biggest stick.

So what we see today with all the Tax Abatement and TIF schemes not to mention public bond issues for private businesses all began with the City Committee. The City Committee was never concerned about crime or quality of life issues. It was strictly money, downtown money.

Mayor Bart Peterson and "cabinet" are the continuation of:
1) The City Committee
2) The Chamber of Commerce
3) Lilly Endowment

It is ludicrous to cast Peterson as Democrat when all the old Republican and money and power have been given to him.

When downtown redevelopment has reached it's peak and the last dollar has been made by those in the "inner circle" then downtown Indianapolis will begin it's decline.

Anonymous said...

Any organization has it malcontents and constant whiners...they usually are vocal. IMPD is no different...there are a few bugs but it is working well....and the system is being tweaked to address the bugs....the whiners who are vocal must be those who thought they had the skids greased for promotions and extra perks under the old unfair system.

Anonymous said...

It's just as bad down here in Evansville, Gary.

The Chamber of commerce is backing a new $200 million stadium...despite the fact that Evansville already has over $500,000,000 in bonded indebtedness.

It's reverse-Robin Hood: the rich stealing from the poor in the form of tax abatements and massive capital improvement projects.

Anonymous said...

Anon 640,
Nice set a liberal "talking points" you got. Did you get them from the nutcakes at TDW or the 25th floor? Surprised you didnt include senior citizens and children. as for a few "whiners" well go ask the EEOC how many discrimination cases officers have filed against the city, I think you'll find there are more than just a few