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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