The root of Indiana's myriad problems

November 22, 2010
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If you follow Morton Marcus’ columns in IBJ, it’s hard not to wince.

In the most recent issue, the former director of Indiana University’s Indiana Business Research Center argues that job creation alone won’t keep young people in the state. Youth leave because their communities aren’t vibrant, interesting places to live, he contends, and for the same reasons those who leave don’t want to come back home.

A week earlier Marcus pointed out that job growth is below average. He also noted Indiana would look much worse if the state were not drawing residents from neighboring Chicago, Cincinnati and Louisville, Indiana.

The week before the population column, he noted that no other state relies as much on its residents’ drawing a wage from someone else. Because the self-employed tend to earn more money, that helps explain why average earnings in Indiana are not keeping up with the national average.

But what does it all mean? Ask Marcus to summarize his observations and here’s what you hear: “We are slow and sliding down.”

Slow and sliding. Ouch again. Look past the press releases of job announcements, he says, and the objective reality is that the state is still in the decline it entered in the late ’70s.

Indiana has never recovered from the woes of the domestic auto industry and the advent of technology that made it possible for so many tasks to be centralized in out-of-state headquarters, leaving behind the branch operations that long supported the state in automotive and other industries.

Indiana will have to work harder than Ohio and even Michigan to pull out of the decline, Marcus says. Ohio and Michigan also are suffering from the decline of the Detroit automakers, he acknowledges, but they can draw from significantly deeper reserves to stage a comeback.

Remember that Ohio has three major metro areas in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, and that Indiana has only one: Indianapolis. Battered as it is, Michigan has legions of technologically savvy workers in the Detroit area. Moreover, Ann Arbor hosts a huge concentration of intellectual power, whereas Indiana’s is scattered among not only Bloomington and West Lafayette but also the medical school at IUPUI—not conducive conditions for the massing of smart people who dream up ideas and create businesses.

What about Indianapolis? It’s doing OK, but just OK, Marcus says. Much better than its dreary past, but still not keeping up with many metros on measures ranging from incomes to education.

The real secret to reversing the state’s fortunes lies in making neighborhoods, communities and cities places where bright, creative people want to live, he says. When sidewalks go unrepaired and trees are not planted, the neglect casts a pall and signals to young people the place has no future. Loss of energy, ideas and prosperity are certain to follow.

Why aren’t more places in Indiana great locations to sink roots? Why don’t communities find the money to fix their sidewalks, and why don’t citizens plant trees after aged ones are cut down? That’s a question Marcus, now 72, has pondered since coming to the state 40 years ago. While he ran the IBRC, he always said he didn’t need another economist, but rather an anthropologist. An economist could never explain the lack of pride and interest in building community.

“Our problems are in our culture,” he says.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree that the culture is the real problem?
 

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  • Political will
    I think culture has something to do with it, but I think the overwhelming barrier is political will. Or rather, political cowardice. It's always safe for those in power to say that "the people" don't want the investment, even if they know that the investment is the right thing to do. Their jobs are controlled by the people. So they tend not to stick their necks out, don't make the tough decisions, just to guarantee their jobs. We need "the people" to make their views clear: do whatever it takes to stimulate the economy. People with the vision and foresight need to make the unpopular political decisions, and then point to where they have made a real improvement.
  • I completely agree
    I came to Indiana from California in 1992 and because of divorce and children I am stuck here for now. I live in Carmel, which one of the best communities and is doing most things right. However, as soon as I can, I will go back to California. While CA has its problems, there is a can-do, entrepreneurial culture that just permeates the place. And you run into extremely smart, well-educated people everywhere. It feels like the gaze is always ahead, always to the future. In Indiana, the culture seems to be backward looking-- wishing for the good old days and avoiding tackling the hard issues like a poorly educated population, crappy communities, and so much hope that large, paternalistic companies will re-emerge to employ large numbers of workers (not likely).
  • Really?
    Cost of living is low. the people are great for the most part. what a great city indianapolis is...last I heard indiana is in much better shape than surrounding states and is poised for growth. sounds like a bitter old man to me...
  • A Dying Community
    Mr. Marcus echoed a recent presentation by a representative from Michigan State University(in Columbus, IN). During that presentation he stated that communities like Brown County and Nashville, IN were dying and would not revive because of the good ole boy and good ole gal cultural attitudes. As a retired and successful Entrepreneurial Business Leader and an Indianapolis transplant to Brown County, I can attest to the facts on which Mr. Marcus speaks- and he is "Spot-On!"
  • Really
    I'm a recent graduate from one of state's law schools, and a business school grad. My girlfriend graduated top of her class from Kelley. We're both originally from Indiana. We're the type of people who Indianapolis should be trying to retain (young, creative professionals). But as much as I love it here, I get disgusted with how backwards the culture can be. Take the recent fuss over public transit: it would be a great economic development tool, but it will be defeated by cries of "don't tax me!" Great development can't come to downtown because we have to allot thousands of square feet to parking. And don't get me started on the general malaise towards anything ecologically sound. Being low-cost is NOT enough to keep well-educated, creative, professional people in Indiana. Some people want more out of life than a cheap house miles away from anything resembling metropolitan. If Indy can't improve, my generation will have no choice but to evacuate and let Indiana wither in our wake.
  • Look Around!
    The political silos are obvious - as are the academic and economic ones Mr. Marcus points out. All the "press releases" talk about are what happened in "yesteryear" or the glories of the past. We speak of "net jobs" or "total employment" in sectors, just as he states - we don't speak of "entrepreneurial communities" or gains like Florida or Ohio or other states, who lure huge institutes, think tanks, groups of creative companies, etc. We're still too busy arguing over important things like daylight savings time, interstate highway routes, basic educational funding.
    As "they" say - if you long for 1959 - just move to Indiana. Hoosiers hate change.
    • Blah Blah
      Home is where you make it (mentally, physically and emotionally).
      • Wake up Ballard & Mitch
        Note that Morton say that the state's lack of attention to education, city sidewalks, parks, the local infrastructe is what is costing Indiana to move forward. In the mean time, Ballard and Mitch continues to underfund and undermind education, tell us that we can't afford everything except tax breaks for companies that move jobs out of state. We do have money to give to the wealthiest of our state, to sport teams to put up digital banners, but in the mean time, the city crumbles and it is because lack of vision, courage, and knowledge by these GOP so-called leaders.
        • This is why
          This exactly what Morton is talking about. Find somebody else or something to blame. It isn't a monetary issue it is the stuck in a hole mindset. Stop blaming, accept facts and make hard decisions.
        • Culture of "Conservatism"
          Good old common sense, conservative, Hoosier values mean that, under the guise of keeping government closer to the people, our politicians, from both parties, refuse to get rid of township government. They then claim that we do not have money to invest in education and according to Republicans, even if we did, the teachers union would prevent it from being spent wisely. Therefore, we persist in being ranked among the lowest states in the nation in educational performance. Eliminating township government would save huge sums of wasted dollars, which could then go to improving education statewide. The problem is that eliminating township government has been the first rung of the latter into elective office for many of our office holders, both Republicans and Democrats. Couple that with the 20 plus years it would take to see the economic results from a first class educational system, seems to make the status quo a no brainer in our current political culture
        • Exactly
          Marcus is "spot on" correct. And that's why there will be no mass transit in Metro Indy and that's why young professionals and intellectuals will continue to leave. Too bad. We should be over the days of basing everything on manufacturing and look to brain-power, which is where the future is.
        • Education!
          IMHO, improved primary and secondary education is the key. It lets people know that their kids will go to good schools. It lets business leaders know that their employees will come from good schools. It lets business leaders know that their candidates for positions will not be dissuaded from coming to your Indiana company because of bad schools.
        • True Enough
          True enough, Hak. Home is where I make it. So, if I am dissatisfied with my current location. I can make my home somewhere else.
        • true
          Ok sell the idea of longing for the past to the hoosiers by bringing "back" the interurban. Seriously everyone here is right on, the city has an elevated train that goes nowhere. If it wasnt sad it would be funny.
        • Conservatism
          Indiana is a state of low taxes and low expectations.
        • YES!
          I agree...NO SMOKING is a GOOD thing! GOOD Roads are a GOOD Thing! Mass transit is a GOOD THING! When are the hoosiers going to recognize these? When do we get to travel on roads that merge the same way...exit easily...buy alcohol on Sundays and get with the rest of the world?
        • Columbus
          Columbus, Indiana, has done things right. Perhaps their mayor (not running) should be used to create a program to educate city governments on how to practically achieve progress? He is available.
        • Too true
          I wonder when Indiana will accept the culture it has embraced and admit it only assures a continuation of the same situations, politics, environment and living standard. Morton is correct that we need more than just jobs, we need a vision that attracts the best minds and gives them sonething to chew on! We have come a long way but we seem so satisfied with our slow progress. We are good at treating the symptom while never getting to the real problem. This is a hard turn for many and I have hoped we would be up to it for years, but saddly we are not willing. There was a time in Indiana history when this state was a literally "hot bed" of creative and intellectual activity (read your past history related to the various movements that were vital in the 1800s). What happened? Does an agricultural focus translate into a stale, stay the course failural to progress mentality?? Would be an interesting study.
        • Poor Government
          Hoosiers, like many U.S. citizens, have been duped to believe the GOP, Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh lies, that tell them that "lower taxes are necessary to balance budgets," while continuing to allow many profitable businesses and wealthy individuals to get away with not paying their fair share. While I agree that efficiencies need to be sought and consider myself a fiscal conservative, I also know that communities, school systems and families have to have enough money to thrive, not just survive. Until Indiana governments (and others) have the backbone to set priorities with input from citizens so that buy-in can be more likely, and then really work to achieve the goals related to those priorities, Indiana will continue to have less-than-ideal communities from an aesthetic and economic vibrancy point of view. That said, there are many well educated, inspiring and dedicated native and expat Hoosiers who toil to make their communities the best they can be given current conditions. This is also a place, I have found, that young people with entrepreneurial spirits and a healthy dose of perseverance (not the give-up-at-first-disappointment types), can easily get involved and make a big difference without having to wait to get older.
        • a dream killer
          I've been living in Indy for 2 years having lived on both coasts and Atlanta. I tell young people to leave the state; Indiana will kill your hopes and dreams. I don't know what the solution entails but I do know this state is "not a good place".
        • Grass is always greener
          You could transplant this blog post into 30 different business journals in 30 different states and get almost the exact same results. Do you really think Indiana is the only state with these problems? Does Indiana really have it worse that Michigan or Ohio? Or Illinois epicenter of creative decadence and corruption in Chicago? Marcus's conclusions here are hardly epiphanies--for people who haven't lived elsewhere, rest assured that in other states they trumpet the same old tired axioms "places of no hope", "stuck in the past" etc. I'm hardly conservative, but the fact remains that more people right now are leaving California for cheap, uninspiring, competently managed places like Indiana, and some of them are bringing that entrepreneurial spirit with them. Sure, they'll likely encounter more resistance in a more conservative environment (to which Indiana hardly reigns surpreme), but they'll also encounter fewer transaction costs or overall barriers to entry, two things that are often inhibiting in liberal environments.

          No place is perfect. By all means, work with and nurture the change, but this article seems like a bit of "he doth protest too much" and the result is more hot air than anything.
          • Barriers to Entry
            Sassafras, in many places in the state simply being from outside of the area is an insurmountable barrier to entry.
          • Difference of Opinion
            After reading all the posts it seems there is a bit of group think to all who responded that Indiana is too conservative, longing for yesteryear, not progressive enough...while that is the culture to some extent it is certainly but not the whole truth. There has been a concerted effort toward the life sciences industry with Dow chemical, Roche, Lilly, IU Med school,and Cook group, not to mention Crane Naval base Does the state still strive for manufacturing? Yes, but there is nothing wrong with "making stuff". Newer manufacturing technologies such as Carbon motors, the solar panel company taking over the Getrag factory, emerging diesel tech at Cummins in Columbus and the battery technologies being reseearched and manufactured in Noblesville are New manufacturing. Conservative is not always bad. Many want new industry jobs, but don't want the over reaching metropolitan government that all too often accompanies new industry jobs. LEED architecture is great, but privately spurred. Mass transit is fine, but not a bus oriented system (that is the reason a referendum will fail). All too often people move here and compare it to where they are from. They love the people, the friendly hoosier hospitality, and the low taxes and then complain about the lack of mass transit, government arts support, and schools, but they fail to realize that much of what they complain about with regards to their old home is directly correlated to the "forward looking policys" they think they want. Low taxes, local school control and non intrusive government are not possible with large subsidation of the arts, social programs, mass transit. Look at the communities in Hamilton County teaming with younger professionals.Great schools, roads, sidewalks and attracting high paying employers and the self employed have continued to aid the growth of what should be an example for the state of what is possible with a mix of proper public-private economic spurring without over reaching and placing an undue and unnecesary burden on tax payers for programs and projects that most people would rather pass on.
            Michigan has 13% unemployment, California (and its over-reaching) is 40 BILLION in debt and is one of worst business friendly states,New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country and yet I bet Mr. Morton would draw favorable comparisons of those states over Indiana which has a balanced budget, excellent business environment and wind, farm and gas resources that will all pay dividends in the future.
            Furthermore a good place to raise a family is not taken into account in this equation. People and their good natured values are nothing but an asset in that regard.
            So at least there is now one dissenting opinion on this topic. Perhaps the ones longing for yesteryear are not those in my generation (I'm 31) but instead they are the people who are Mr. Mortons age because they're the only one who remember yesteryear.
          • Opportunity
            @Not Better . . You are missing the entire point - it's about the quality of life . . .
          • Interesting Facts
            A few interesting facts you might be interested in.

            Between 2000 and 2008 (the maximum data range available so far for the 2000's), Indiana declined in per capita personal income from 91% of the US average to 86% of the US average. Indianapolis fared even worse, declining from 107% (i.e., above average) of US average PCPI in 2000 to 98% (i.e., below average) in 2008. By contrast, during the 1990's (1990-200), Indiana actually gained on the national average, going from 91 to 91%, while Indy gained 3 percentage points, going from 104% to 107% of the US average.

            Looking at the job numbers shows a possible explanation. If you look at the change in jobs for the same 2000-2008 period, the state declined by 1.44% while the Indpls region increased by 7.15%.

            What it looks like to me is that Indy (and to a lesser extent Indiana) is doing ok in terms of the raw number of jobs, but what we are seeing is an alarming turn for the worse in terms of the quality (i.e., pay) of the jobs in question. Both the city and the state would appear to be increasingly low end economies.

            This is hardly just a local phenomenon, I might add. The worst offender in PCPI declines is famously booming Atlanta. I think what we are witnessing up close and personal is the result of macroeconomic changes in the US economy.

            The city and state are at a crossroads. They can embrace their fate, so to speak, and decide to be a low end, low wage, low value place to live and do business, or they can do something to try to change the dynamic. Again, the ability to influence things is at least partially dependent on the national economy and national responses to our current situation.
          • Barriers/Open Doors
            To John and the continued naysayers:
            While being from outside the state might very well prove a barrier to entry in much of Indiana, I still fail to see how that differs from, say, 80% of the country, the areas surrounding "open" and "accepting" places like Atlanta. (Atlanta is not the majority of Georgia, and Indianapolis has proven very open to outsiders, perhaps in stark contrast to backstate.)

            Clearly the negative tenor of this article and people's willingness to parrot it reveals more about their own internalized frustrations with Indiana in general and Mr. Marcus' frustrations in particular. He picked a pretty broad scythe at which to swipe at Indiana's remaining apple trees, and to suggest that neighboring states don't have these problems to level of severity of Indiana is pure selective amnesia. I'm hardly conservative, but I refuse to believe all is gloom and doom here, or that Indiana is unique for having this perception of itself--mostly because I haven't lived in Indiana in recent years.

            And does Mr. Marcus really expect a sea change in collective mentality? It's not going to happen, barring a diaspora or some other cataclysmic demographic change. Massachusetts isn't going to become a Bible Belt state any time soon either. Thus we have to nurture our existing assets. The Calumet Region in NW Indiana is experience a mild resurgence after three decades of economic stagnation, due largely to out migration from Chicago and its expensive, heavily taxed, corrupt southern suburbs.

            I'm not conservative, and my suspicion is the poster "Not Better" isn't that conservative either but can at least provide some balance. Kurt Vonnegut was a socialist, yet he still could offer a far more nuanced and sympathetic observation of Indiana--and the Midwest as a whole--than one can see in this article.
          • Myth
            Phrases such as "Hoosier values", "friendly mid-west attitude" and such are a pure myth. Hoosiers aren't particularly friendly to anyone and I don't know what values the entire state shares--not even far right wing politics. We need to get past this place where you can slap a catch phrase on a smiling bumpkin and pretend we are the same as everyone else. Our "most educated city", Indianapolis, can't even get a smoking ban passed because a significant portion of the population doesn't believe that smoking is bad for you. Dream on that we will be a hotbed of science with that going on in the background. Instead of saying we have these mythical Hoosier Values, why don't we step up to the plate and DO SOMETHING that shows what we are made of--because right now we ARE showing what we are made of and it ain't pretty.
            • re: Matthew
              First let me start by pointing out that perhaps Matthew, the city which you point out as being uneducated and bumpkin, might not be passing a smoking ban because regardless of the health risks of smoking, WE HERE IN INDIANA actually still believe in the core values of freedom that this country was founded on. If you want to smoke and take on the risks that accompany it...it's your right. If you don't want to be around smoking, feel free to move on to an establishment that does not allow it. It's called choice. THAT is what makes our country great. Appreciate the freedoms we all have while we still have them.
              Man people on here are such haters for their own home. So much national sentiment these days across the country is our own citizens whining and complaining about how bad we have it...how our "quality of life" is so bad. Shall I pull out my violin? Feel free to leave the state at any time if you are so unhappy.... leave the country too if you think its so bad. Perhaps while you are abroad you might actually understand what life is like around the world in other countries where there is little or no choice about how you live, or the resources available to even allow you to live a long and healthy life if you want. If our country is so bad then why do we have such an illegal immigration problem? If our state is so bad why has our state population of immigrants bloomed out of control in the past decade? What spoiled rotten people we have become if we spend our times whining about "quality of life" issues. Create the world you want for yourself...stop expecting everyone else to want the same thing as you... and certainly don't expect everyone else to pay for the lifestyle you want. Don't get me wrong I wish our state would still work toward attracting business, life science initiatives, educated and diverse people. But I also realize things don't just change overnight. People don't just one day change their values, and like it or not many people in Indiana are good natured sometimes simple valued people who might not embrace change and diversity as much as we would all like. But we are making progress...and that balanced with the fact that our cost of living is so low is well worth it to me. I would rather live someplace I can afford and have money to travel around, than live in California in a 600 SF home for 3 times the price and not afford to ever leave. But that is my choice. Everyplace has it's trade offs.
            • observations
              I grew up in Indiana and spent the last 3 years in the U.P. of Michigan and was longing to come back to Indiana, which I have just recently accomlished. But I feel there is a union mentality in the work environment that depsite my nonunion employment, it has permeated the area. Their is a lack of entrepernerial spirit, but a sense of job entitlement. I see people doing long commutes to stay in a depressed city and bad schooling. I enjoyed my last year in the U.P. of Michigan becuase it had a small town pride and sense of community.
            • Former Hoosier
              I left Indy in 1991 for Las Vegas because, at 21yrs old, i felt Indy had nothing to offer me. So, I mostly agree with the comments about what is lacking here and would love to believe that things had improved in that time. But, when I heard that the State Atty. Gen'l. was going after the Dental license of the Mayor of Southport because he refused to recite a prayer aloud before city meetings, I know that things are stil "Jacked-up". It always struck me that Hoosiers have always been so keen to tout things about their state to the outside world. And yet, nobody says a word when something like this happens. Believe me when I say that, it may not be a big deal to you folks but, the rest of the US looks at this stuff and thinks "oh, how small town, and small minded they must all be". I know it sounds like I am trashing Indy but, take it as constructive criticism. Focus on giving people like me a good reason to come back. Focus on how to build things, rather than tearing each other down. Look forward, not behind you. Wake up, 2011 is upon us, the rest of the world is moving very quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch up. BTW, I really do root for Indy, so much so that I am considering opening a branch location of my business here. Don't tell me why I should, SHOW me why I should! There are others like me, take advantage of this before those doors close again for good.
              • BTW Matthew - Seriously
                Matthew, seriously, your comments are indicative of what is largely wrong with Indy. Suggesting that people should wait for things to change, because change takes time, is an argument in support of the lazy and stupid among us. Don't you think you, and your fellow Hoosiers deserve more? Why not hold ourselves to a higher standard? Why not strive to achieve more? Why not in our lifetime? Why not now? Also, you suggest that people should leave the state or the country if they are unhappy. Again, your "lazy" is showing. Look, certainly we all won't agree on everything. But, we should at least urge everyone to strive for the positive changes they seek rather than telling them to shut-up or leave. I have traveled to many places in the world over the past 20 years. And believe me when I say that Indiana is NOT exactly the best place in the world to live. It may surprise you but, several other countries have a much higher standard of living, better healthcare, better education, and a much improved quality of life, when compared to the USA. Does this mean we should leave? No! What it means is that we should get our heads out of our proverbial "arse" and get with the business of making this a better place. Finally, we need to remember, regardless our differences, we still agree on most things. Let's start there and build on that as a solid foundation. tick tick tick...
              • Southport mayor
                MikeG - You need to get your facts straight about the investigation into the Southport mayor. It appears he may have lied on the application for his dental license.

                http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-southport-mayor-license-investigation-101409,0,5715739.story

                Still seem "small-minded" to you?
              • College Student
                This is definitely true, but for more than the reasons given... First of all I have to say that there is very little chance I end up living in Indiana if I do not end up in Indianapolis or Bloomington. They are the only two cities that I feel have the right culture for my generation. We definitely fit in with the "Yuppie" crowd. We want a high quality of life (provided outside of our own home) and a friendly, laid back culture when we are not at work. Indiana definitely has the friendly, laid-back culture, but that has overflowed into the workforce and politics and left towns looking atrocious and not stepping up to take advantage of new technologies and ideas. I don't even feel like I could be satisfied professionally because of this culture. I want to be successful at what I do which means I really want to be pushed hard in the workplace and be able to really make a difference, but I wonder if I will be able to find a firm in Indiana with that strong of a working culture. Its time for the emloyers to step up... More productive workers make more money for the employer, which makes more money for the governments, which hopefully creates better services and quality of life.
              • The Next Generation
                Travis, you and I are in the same generation, and I agree with your statement regarding the Bloomington/Indy dichotomy. I'm a yuppie, and I've chosen to live in Indy, but it's because I believe that I can change this city. Sadly, the culture here will never change if our generation doesn't come in and shake things up a bit (okay, a lot).

                Indy has some great young professionals organizations. Get involved and meet people who are less backwards-thinking. It won't be too long before someone in our generation decides to run for city council or even, heaven forbid, mayor. It only takes a small fall of snow to start an avalanche.
              • I tend to agree...
                First and foremost, I am a total homer. I love Indianapolis, love what it has become - considering it is at the mercy of a very conservative state!
                Secondly, I am 35, educated, & single; a former city planner that has worked in 3 different municipalities in C. Indiana (including Indianapolis). I blieve the author is spot-on. I consider myself to be well-traveled and I can only say "You get what you pay for." Well, we here in Indiana don't pay for anything therefore we have nothing. That approach to our State's infrastructure, education, & environment is what's causing people like myself to leave or by-pass. It has to change! Selling off what income-generating assests we have for the extremely short-term gain is lunacy! Under-funding a WOEFUL bus system, shutting libraries and schools all while putting caps on taxes and making citizens pay for privatly-used buildings is sinking this State into oblivion~! I want Indiana to succeed, but having Amazon locate a call-center or warehouse here employing 2,000 people at $12.50/hr - with 10yr tax abatements only to move to India in 11 years - is not job creation. It also paints a very dumbed-down image of what our citizens are capable of doing.

                Indiana needs to step-up to the plate on raising taxes or means to generate revenue (tax religious-owned property!) start funding transit for Central & Northwest Indiana, make state colleges FREE tuition, ramp up funding to local school systems and start tackling what we are doing to our environment. If so, in 20 years this State would be top 10 in nearly every ranking that mattered.

                Indiana should change its motto to: "Consistently a top 50 US State!"

                Finally, I'm moving out of State next week for my new job. I love home, but I doubt I ever come back...
              • again
                I am all for the bettering of our culture and infrastructure, however not at the cost of raising taxes on those of us who work for a living. We shouldn't expect that every time we want something that oh just dip into the pockets of the working class and take it to make everyone else's life better. Our government needs to stop overpaying contractors and their own employees and totally rework the budget based on the income they already get. Stop funding programs that are not vital, and focus on improving the city. When my income was reduced in the recession I did not get to just take money from others because my budget changed.... I (like many families) had to re prioritize. Mitch has been doing a great job of making tough decisions. I don't think anyone would argue Indy needs improvement. And trust me I know more than anyone how unwelcoming the state as a whole can be when it comes to accepting others they don't agree with. Schools are very important...but for EDUCATION...not sports. Sports are extra...don't ask to raise my taxes to keep teachers when you just built a new football stadium. Education first, then extras. Team events are important for youth, but are secondary to the classroom. We do need better jobs, here but seriously? free state tuition? Just who do you think is going to pay for that? Also do you think if it is free people will even try? half of people drop out of IUPUI (which is a great school in most programs) before finishing. Kids who get free school often don't do as well as those who pay for it themselves because the appreciation is not there. It's just like life, you have to work for what you want. It's a philosophy that seems to be more and more lost these days. Everyone thinks they "deserve" things. And please let me know which countries have this amazing healthcare system? And just how much are people taxed for it? And just how long is the waiting period to see a physician? Can you even choose the physician you want to see? Our Healthcare would not cost a fraction of what it does if doctors didn't have to artificially raise prices just so insurance would reimburse them 10 cents to the dollar. That whole dynamic is caused by all the moochers we have on medicaid, and the illegals clogging up our ERs. If we stop giving out handouts to everyone, and made people work for themselves more at least as a standard, our problems would be drastically reduced. "Quality of life" is also a very relative term and means different things to different people. Many people think having a car instead of HAVING to ride the bus is a better quality of life. Others would rather live in Chicago, pay $2000 a month for a 600 SF flat and ride buses and be able to buy groceries for only a day at a time because that's all they can carry. While all of you that are unhappy are flocking to other states let's see what happen in the next 3 years when they all have to come to jesus with their budgets. Indiana is one of a handful that isn't so deep in debt there is virtually no hope of coming out of it without more "stimulus" money handed to them from the feds. And we all know how well that works. Let's all be more self reliant and stop expecting the government to make all our lives better....that is NOT what the government is there for....despite what they tell us these days.
              • also again
                I don't argue that people should have to ride a bus, only that people shouldn't have to own a car to survive. I'd love to take the bus into work, but IndyGo has remarkably poor service, and I need more regularity than once every hour. IndyGo's budget is a pittance compared to what we spend on everything else. I'm all for freedom, but at what point do we stop saying "freedom to smoke" instead of "freedom to be healthy"? On the national level, I'm conservative. I like small government. But a city needs to be able to support itself. The national government can waste money on poor social programs, but the city has to provide police and schools or it will spiral downwards. Just because I believe in funding public transit doesn't mean I'm all for the healthcare overhaul. It's that sort of black-and-white thinking that keeps us divided and gets nothing done. The inability to see the virtues of the other side is one example where "traditional Hoosier culture" fail us as Hoosiers.

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              1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

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              4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

              5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.

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