IBJNews

Ballard says jobs, neighborhoods critical

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Creating a climate that allows businesses to thrive and improving Indianapolis’ neighborhoods will be critical to the city’s future success.

That was the message Mayor Greg Ballard conveyed Thursday night in his fourth-annual State of the City speech, delivered at the Indianapolis Artsgarden downtown.

In his 30-minute address, Ballard, a first-term Republican, made his case that the city already has built an environment conducive to economic development. He said the city has a strong fiscal position, including a AAA bond rating, and has avoided income-tax increases because of 5 percent budget cuts for most city departments over the last three years.  

He also touted Indianapolis’ job-creation record, saying the city landed a record 8,700 job commitments last year.

“Our aggressive pursuit of economic opportunities is moving Indianapolis forward, but we must remain vigilant,” Ballard said. “As companies and workers adapt to the ever-changing business climate, so must we as a city.”

To do that, Ballard cited two initiatives.

He has commissioned a panel of about a dozen national experts to come up with a plan for redeveloping the GM metal-stamping facility west of downtown, which is slated to close June 30. Meanwhile, the effort to find a new industrial tenant for the site is ongoing.

He also mentioned the city’s push – evident in recent ads in Illinois newspapers – to target business from other cities to move to Indianapolis.

Democrats, however, say the economic picture in Indianapolis isn’t so rosy.

Brian Williams, an Indianapolis businessman speaking for the Marion County Democratic Party, said according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city has lost 9,000 jobs in the last year. And he points out that the 8,700 jobs Ballard cites are merely commitments.
 
“Those may or may not come to fruition a year or two years from now,” Williams said.

The numbers Williams cited could not be immediately verified. Indianapolis’ unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in December, the most recent month for which data are available.

He also said the city needs to focus on significantly raising the wage base for jobs to compare with those in other states.

Ballard faces re-election this fall and will square off against either Melina Kennedy, a former deputy mayor under Bart Peterson, or former City-County Councilman Ron Gibson.

Sandy Gordner, who runs her own corporate-gift business out of her Meridian Kessler home, said she thinks Ballard has been fiscally prudent, and that has positively affected the local business climate.

“I think that’s pretty critical to the strength of the city,” said Gordner, 64, who attended the speech with her husband, Fritz, 70. “It’s what we have to do with our own budgets.”

In addition to jobs, Ballard said his priority is to rebuild neighborhoods by addressing issues such as crumbling sidewalks and streets and abandoned homes with about $450 million from the pending sale of the city’s water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group.

He said that’s a key step to advance Indianapolis’ profile after hosting the 2012 Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl is not the culmination of our growth, but the evidence of it,” Ballard said. “The next leg of our growth also requires us to attract and keep people in our city.”


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).

ADVERTISEMENT