Editorial: Business community is right to rise up against legislative interference in Indy

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Executives from more than 60 central Indiana companies have put their names on a letter to the editor this week that essentially calls on lawmakers to back off attempts to micromanage or strip power from Indianapolis city government.

We join the group in these sentiments and applaud the effort—organized by Indy Chamber—to persuade the GOP-controlled General Assembly to largely let local officials make their own decisions about their communities.

You can read the full letter here, but a key paragraph is this:

“Efforts at the Statehouse to stifle local priorities—in public safety, transit, housing and more—will stall growth by diminishing the contributions of residents who feel isolated from jobs, unsafe in their neighborhoods, limited by housing and transportation options.”

We agree. And if you read IBJ editorials regularly, our stance will come as no surprise.

Just last month, we wrote that lawmakers should let stand Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a 2020 bill that would prohibit local governments from regulating landlord-tenant relations without state authorization. (The Senate voted this week to override it.) And last year, we urged lawmakers not to pass the bill at all.

And while we know IndyGo has created some of its own problems, we have urged the General Assembly to clear the road for the transit system’s success, instead of seeking ways to make that more difficult.

We believe in local control. We expect Republicans to believe in local control, too. And so it’s baffling to us that some of the General Assembly’s most conservative lawmakers are leading the efforts to interfere in the way Indianapolis officials govern their city. And we’ve said so.

But as much as we’d like to believe that our editorials are moving public opinion and impacting legislative actions, we know the collective voices of dozens of central Indiana’s most influential business leaders will be more persuasive.

Just take a look at some of the people who signed the letter: Eli Lilly and Co. CEO Dave Ricks, Elanco Animal Health CEO Jeff Simmons, Community Health Network CEO Bryan Mills, Emmis Communications Chairman Jeff Smulyan, Indiana Black Expo CEO Tanya McKinzie, IU Health CEO Dennis Murphy, Mays Chemical CEO Kristin Mays Corbitt, OneAmerica CEO J. Scott Davison and PNC Bank Regional President Connie Bond Stuart. And that’s just the start.

These are people who drive central Indiana’s economy, who employ thousands of workers and who invest millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours into making Indianapolis a better place to live and work.

That’s not to say they are blind to the city’s problems or don’t have questions about the way its elected officials are leading. But these executives believe the city’s problems are best solved by the people on the ground, not by elected officials from across the state who gather in Indianapolis for a few months each year.

We’re with them. So, lawmakers, stop interfering in local government—not only in Indianapolis but in every community in Indiana.•


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2 thoughts on “Editorial: Business community is right to rise up against legislative interference in Indy

  1. What next, will these business leaders angrily shake their fingers at these Republicans. A letter is not enough.
    I might be wrong, but my guess is these righteous leaders helped get these people elected by giving them dollars. The only thing these politicians understand is ” who is putting the food bowl down”.
    If all of these outraged leaders declare right now that they will no longer give any money to those Republicans who vote for this and will actively support those running against them, then maybe it will change.
    These Republicans did it before and will do it again with the tacit approval of these almighty business leaders.
    To quote Nixon to Eisenhower 60 years ago, “Time to s*** or get off the pot”.

  2. Local leaders need to do more to impress upon the Statehouse that ignoring local control presents a very bad precedent for the state. This appears as petty and micromanaging and without basis other that having the power to do so. Overriding local initiatives and planning is bullying if not totalitarianism. What is the objective? Is this to benefit the local populace? What happed to the rallying cry of the GOP over local control. Is it that some GOP members lover local control until they don’t or because the local area is a led by a different party or inhabited by people for whom they feel their rights can be readily legislated away. This is more than unfair. It is hypocritical. It is a shameful mockery of fair government. These actions clearly identify why the victims, those who dare to have an alternative opinion in their own area, feel marginalized. The calamities of so-called third world countries were based on such misuse by those in power. Fiscal conservatism and sound budgets are fine. Dictatorial behavior and suppression are not. Stop the vindictive tomfoolery.