Incentives as a way of life

July 9, 2008
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Competition for jobs and investment has become so fierce that companies with a good growth plan are firmly in the driverâ??s seat.

A local example is Bowen Engineering Corp., which is asking for $290,000 in incentives from Indianapolis to move its offices from Fishers as part of an expansion.

The company was started in 1967 in Indianapolis by Chairman Robert Bowen. His son, Doug Bowen, who is now president, says he briefly considered moving the company out of state before settling on staying in Indiana.

Leslie Wagner, director of project management and development at the consulting firm Ginovus Inc., believes Bowen is wise to shop around. Incentives can save money that can be plowed back into the company in other ways, she says.

â??Iâ??m not sure that theyâ??re bidding wars,â?? Wagner says. â??Every person, every company wants to be responsible in spending resources.â??

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  • Good grief - who are they kidding? It IS a competition, at the least, if not a bidding war - the municipality who gives up the most gets the most. Incentives, tax breaks, whatever you want to call corporate welfare - it's now required to lure companies to your neck of the woods and it's extremely competitive, and you'd better believe companies shop around and compare one places' breaks with another before making a move - if that's not a bidding war, what is it? Then why do so many cities have offices of economic development and offer tax breaks? It's become E-bay for business - and you'd better cough up the incentives if you want to succeed!
  • I'm tired of hearing these sorts of stories. What percent of these companies are truly considering a move out of state? I bet no more than half, if that. The others are just working the system. Do you think they maybe hired some lobbyists to help out with their application?

    Look at Steak & Shake. Too bad their stock has fallen and all that but why should we give them incentioves to buy the IT upgrades they need? I wish my business could get the government to subsidize us. I must be dumb for not working the system.

    Also, how many times do you read about how the company fails to live up to their end of the bargain and then the city is left holding the bag since the company is in desparate straights and can't give back what they are supposed to. No teeth to the agreements. A normal business won't stay in business for long if they were stupid enough to agree to such one-sided deals.

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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