Indiana's slide started a century ago

November 27, 2010

[In response to Morton Marcus’ Nov. 22 column] At the turn of the 20th century, Indiana was one of the most progressive states. After the influx of immigrants in the 1910s, Indiana ratcheted backward and has not recovered.

First, it was the [Ku Klux] Klan in the 1920s, the roots of which were never eliminated. Racism was present in the votes of people for George Wallace in 1972 and in the segregation of Indy’s schools.  

When the school busing order was signed, Indianapolis lost citizens to Hamilton and other neighboring counties. Few recognized that fewer people wanting houses in Indianapolis meant lower prices for Marion County real estate, which also meant less money for property taxes based upon market value.

The migration ended in the 1980s, but the Legislature failed to give Indianapolis its fair share of sales and income taxes. Sales taxes generated in Indianapolis subsidize most of the other 91 counties. Further, Indianapolis subsidizes police and fire protection, emergency services and transportation expenses for tens of thousands of out-of-county commuters. COIT only pays for a little of the cost of those services.

Indiana used to have one of the best transportation systems in the nation. Now, responsible businessmen want to revitalize the train system and the Legislature may not even allow a vote. I believe people like Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, believe they are doing the correct thing, but if Indy is not a beacon for others to come, it will die a slow death.


John J. Sullivan

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