Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reason Saves Cleveland, Part 4 - Embrace Business

Great quote in the first minute: "It's easier to move out than it is to move in". This, and the idea that people have choices, seems utterly lost of Cleveland's elected officials. It was true when I left nearly eight years ago, and seems unchanged. A telling stat at 3:15 is that Cleveland's tax burden was 45th heaviest in 1977, but 7th worst in 2007. And they wonder why population is flowing out. Well, duh.

"Cleveland seems to be more focused on tax revenue than it is on the overall business climate". Unfortunately, this seems also true of the Fishers Town Council. One of the phrases I use when talking local politics is "Let's not reinvent Marion County". Yes, that's Indianapolis, but the same thing applies anywhere, and that's the point. Policy matters, more than weather or cultural attractions.

Great series!

Oh, did you get a load of Joe Cimperman? He's certain that Cleveland offers a great business climate, but when told that some business owners disagree, his reaction wasn't, "What policy offends them?" but "Who are they?" I'll never forget first seeing this attention hound at a rally surrounding St. Michael's Hospital, which was going to be closed because it was losing money hand over fist. Cimperman wanted to force them to remain open. Yes, force.

Cimperman is a big help though! He took one poor business owner and reduced his red tape hell from 10 years to 1.5 years!

Hey Joe. Psst. Nobody wants to wait 1.5 years to expand a parking lot. They're going to leave. 1.5 weeks should be the maximum time on that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reason Saves Cleveland, Part 3 - Privatization

One of the mistakes Cleveland makes is to do a great many things that private industry could, and shoud, do. For example, Cleveland's city employees collect the trash from residences within the corporate limits. If I wanted a private company to do that, I couldn't. It was forbidden by municipal ordinance. Here in Fishers, we have four different companies competing to collect trash, and none of the things I was told would happen in Cleveland have come to pass. My streets are not strewn with trash. I do not have an endless parade of trucks creating traffic, noise, and smell nuisances. We do not have people stocking trash in the backyard in order to avoid to bill. I get a bill for $70 every three months. My property taxes are about a half of what they would be for comparable property in Cleveland. To save $2,000/year as opposed to pay $280? I'll do that trade all day long, every day of the year.

Reason suggests that Cleveland should inspect its services while applying the 'Yellow Pages Test'. That is, if there are commercial enterprises offering services provided by the City, the City should privatize. The gain would be a decrease in the public payroll and legacy costs into the future.

It is no surprise to me that Reason identified trash collection among 10 things Cleveland should privatize.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reason Saves Cleveland, Part 2 - Schools

I really loved seeing the solutions that are working in places like Oakland. Look at these kids, who are excited about learning and success, and are thinking ahead to college!

Cleveland needs this. Heck- Fishers great school system and all could use this kind of overt pro-college thinking. I love it!

Indiana To Put A Tax Hike On The Table?

Well, my conservative friends, what do you think about this? From Indy Star:

"If we don't see a really significant improvement from anything I see right now, it'll be extraordinarily difficult next year," Daniels said. "In the 10 months between now and the beginning of the next legislature, our number one priority is going to be to try to maintain Indiana's solvency, Indiana's AAA credit rating, Indiana's position as one of the handful of states that only nicked, as opposed to gouged, education and didn't raise taxes.

"That's going to be a tough thing to bring off."

Tough? Really? Only elected officials committed to large government, and people who take out loans to pay for snacks can talk this way.

In the Kole house, when the income slows, the spending slows. Sure we dip into the savings if it comes to that, but we will cut everything but the essentials if and when it gets desperate.

Essentials carries a strict definition here. Food, mortgage, utilities, gasoline, insurance. By utility, I mean water and electricity. Cable TV? Well, we don't have cable TV. That's a 100% cut. We don't go out to eat when it gets desperate. We don't go out for entertainment in such times. State government?
Since forecasters released new economic projections in December, state revenues have fallen short of projections by $160 million in the past two months. In fact, revenue has missed projections for 17 consecutive months, leading Gov. Mitch Daniels to order 20 percent in cuts to state agencies, a $150 million -- or 6 percent -- cut to state universities, and a $300 million -- or 3 percent -- trim to K-12 schools.

How did this man get the nickname, "The Blade". Call him "The Penknife", or "The Fingernail File". These are more appropriate.

If the objective is to maintain solvency, then get to some serious cutting. I haven't seen any departments closed. Some items have been merged, but I am unaware of anything eliminated. At the very least, if the money isn't there, departments that survive can be cut to 50%, and schools can be cut at least 10%.

Our state government is made up of a bunch of babies. If Daniels and state legislators lack the fortitude, they should get out of the way and let those who have it step in.
"After five years of building a $1.3 billion reserve, it's been shrunk by half in the past eight months, and that's after cutting $800 million of spending," said Ryan Kitchell, director of the state's Office of Management and Budget.

"With revenue continuing to decline at unprecedented double-digit rates, our toughest decisions are still ahead of us."

Bollocks. Libertarians in the statehouse would have maintained the entire reserve. Cutting is not a tough decision, especially when economic forces make it such that explaining the cuts is child's play.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reason Saves Cleveland, Part 1

With much anticipation on my part, has begun to release "Reason Saves Cleveland", in installments.

Just an intro, but for those who don't know Cleveland's story, or have never seen much of the city, Part 1 is a nice primer.

I can't wait to see more of the series! Libertarian principles applied to Cleveland. What a concept!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Business Property Owners Lose More Ground

The Indiana legislature has ended its' short session so the members can go campaign for re-election in November. The one item that struck me more than any other points to the further assertion of government that business property owners will continue to have less and less to say about what goes on on their land, and that those who show up on it will have increasingly more the say.

This trend started in great earnest with the discussion of smoking bans on business property. Governments at all levels are increasingly saying that business owners cannot set policy on their property, because even though private property, they are places of public accommodation.

So, it certainly does follow that the Indiana legislature approved a law permitting employees to bring guns onto business property, regardless of whether the business owner approves.
From the Indy Star:

The legislature passed House Enrolled Act 1065, which lets most employees take their guns with them as they drive to work and park in a company-owned lot, as long as the weapons stay out of sight in a locked vehicle. And it passed House Enrolled Act 1068, already signed into law by Daniels, that will keep gun permit information secret.

The losers here? The media and businesses.

Business groups argue that companies should be able to set their own policies on handguns to safeguard their property and employees. They point to workplace incidents where disgruntled employees have retrieved a weapon from their cars and opened fire.

The Star got it right on business as loser here. I'm all for the right to self-defense and the right to bear arms. However, the rights or property come first for me. If I don't want your gun on my property, that should be my call. Alas, in today's America, if you own business property, you can go to hell. Someone else gets primacy on what is now only nominally 'your land'.
Update: One day, I'll learn never to use my Mac for these posts. It's not really the fault of the Mac so much as Blogger. If I cut something from a source when using the Mac, Blogger preserves the font type and size. try to make it uniform? Forget it. Blogger freaks out and makes it worse. Doing the same operation on the PC leaves everything uniform. I like uniformity.