Herb Simon explained to a reporter in 1997 why he was reluctant to ask other businesses to help fund his new Pacer's Fieldhouse. "I don't think it's right for an entrepreneur to ask another entrepreneur for a gift," he intoned. With a combined net worth of more than a billion dollars, it's unclear why he and his brother need a "gift" from anyone.
Nevertheless, confident that servile public officials will fling open the treasury doors, Simon has never been shy about demanding taxpayers help fund his various business ventures. The recent announcement by Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson that the City is handing the Simons a $23 million gift of free land and other incentives for a new office building surprised no one. Sadly, it's becoming something of a local tradition.
Dear Mayor Peterson,
Last fall Self magazine again published its annual report on "The Healthiest Places for Women to Live". The study looked at over thirty areas of wellness, including life expectancy, crime, cancer rates and exercise. Out of the 200 largest cities, the home of the Indianapolis Colts finished an appalling 197th. Why, in spite of millions of public dollars squandered on privately owned sports teams, does our city continue to be one of the least desirable cities in America? Perhaps it has to do with some of the following problems:
There's been a lot of righteous anger about our brutal taxes lately, which seems curious considering that Indiana has the second-lowest state and local taxes in the nation. I'm all for tax fairness, but with our growing list of unmet public needs, I can't personally support an anti-tax crusade. In the spirit of helpfulness, however, I have done some research on how others may escape what's been called the "theft of our money by faceless, over-paid government bureaucrats."
Many people wonder why we have such a hard time cleaning up Indiana. Consider this: Hoosier Environmental Council worked long and hard to get a rule to protect Indiana's groundwater only to be torpedoed by an industry-friendly ruling from Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
Ah, springtime and Indiana's air will be sweet with Atrazine, 2,4-D and other toxic pesticides. In the ongoing war against unwanted plants and bugs, farmers, lawn care companies, golf course superintendents and homeowners will casually broadcast over one billions pounds of these deadly chemicals on America this year.
Giant corporations dominate nearly every aspect of our daily life, but there are still some loose ends to be tidied up. When they are, the word "nearly" will disappear from that last sentence. The public sector is still a democratic annoyance to the captains of industry and an all out attack has been launched against it.
One evening recently, I sat down with pen and paper to list all the great ways Gov. Frank O'Bannon has made Indiana a cleaner, healthier place to live. The next morning, still at my desk, I awakened slumped over a blank sheet of paper.