Saturday, July 05, 2014

Good News: Indy Chamber Membership Drops Nearly 20%

The IBJ is bemoaning the fact that the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has lost nearly 20% of its membership since 2011. Business owners must finally be seeing the light and now understand that the organization is working against its interests. As I've said before on this blog, the organization exists solely to enrich members of the downtown mafia. It could care less about the interests of average business owners in this city. Here's a few reasons why:
  • It has supported every tax hike that has been enacted in recent years, and it is currently lobbying for two new income tax increases to support public safety and mass transit, that if enacted, would make our local income tax rate the highest in the state. 
  • It has whole-heartedly supported the extension and expansion of TIF districts that now consumer nearly $120 million annually in property tax revenues to replenish slush funds the mayor uses to reward campaign contributors. 
  • It supported the privatization of the city's parking meters, along with the tripling of parking meter rates.
  • It supported each of the successive sales of the water company that enriched a handful of people and led to the quadrupling of rates. 
  • It supported $200 million in subsidies for billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers, $100 million in subsidies for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and it supports construction of a taxpayer-financed $87 million soccer stadium for Turkish businessman Ersal Ozdemir. 
  • If that's not bad enough, it has also supported a panoply of new fees and regulations of businesses enacted by the Ballard administration. 
  • It supports converting public education into a private profiteering racket by using education dollars to support charter schools run by political cronies. 
  • It even supported taxpayer-financing of its own organization to make up for its declining membership by merging with Develop Indy, the economic development agency supported by city tax dollars. That merger effectively made it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the mayor's office. Not surprisingly, the organization is run by one of the mayor's former chief deputies.
  • In short, the organization is nothing more than an extension of the downtown mafia and the interests it pursues to self-enrich an elite few at the expense of the rest of us. Paying membership fees to the Indy Chamber is biting off your nose to spite your face.


Anonymous said...

The Indy Chamber exists to suck money from every area of the City to enrich Downtown. If you're not in Downtown, and your in the Chamber, you're a sucker.

The next shakedown racket that needs to get exposed is Indianapolis Downtown Inc. Did you know that they have actual governing functions assigned to them by the City?

Anonymous said...

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce doesn’t represent the interests of me or my business. I don’t support expensive mass transit proposals and definitely not ones that envisage rail. I no longer believe in or support TIF districts. I think the sale of the water company and the quadrupling of my water/sewer bills was practically a criminal enterprise, and I don’t feel much differently about the parking meters. And I decided long ago that I would cut the Pacers loose and donate the field house to Indiana University. I think the “Chamber” uses its new members to fund its political shenanigans without providing much in return. And they fail to support issues which matter to me, which include decreasing the regulations and fees imposed by the city on business; particularly overreaching into property rights with excessive regulation. These types of regulations typically exempt players at the top while charging fees to businesses at the bottom. Burdening thousands of mom and pop rental property owners while exempting all the big players. Uneven treatment of property owners is going to land the city in Court, and if they start burdening the thousands of middle class black landlords with fees and repairs and regulations that don’t apply to the Metropolitan Board of Realtor members, its going to land the city in Federal Court. These are the types of inequalities that the Chamber fosters through its policies and politics. It doesn’t stand for small business, no. Definitely not. And real business in Indiana has always been small business. These guys running downtown Indianapolis are the enemy of small business. They enrich themselves with their politics. And then they go home at night to Carmel and Zionsville and Center Grove. They don’t live here. But they tax us, regulate us, burden us with fees, and they use the money for business enterprise that enriches them. Period.

Anonymous said...

It is no different around the state. Local chambers of commerce are nothing but enablers of the worst crony "capitalism" around. It is especially onerous because it is local people hosing their own neighbors.

Any business owner who makes an honest living that is still a member of their local chamber is just not paying attention and is giving money to the very folks working against them. That is the definition of foolish.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon. 8:26 said, "Did you know that they have actual governing functions assigned to them by the City?"

That was my point about the merger with Develop Indy, the city's economic development arm. It's no longer an independent business organization; rather, it's tax-supported agency. It can never buck the mayor's agenda without the risk of losing its taxpayer funding.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:43 AM GMT-5,

Well said!

Pete Boggs said...

Commerce is a free market concept- what commerce? It's more like the Chamber Of Reimburse.