09 Jul Economic development Olympics: The triathlon for taxing bodies
CHICAGO – We need to create the triathlon for taxing bodies: cut spending, cut waste and cut taxes.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, Illinois hasn’t fared well when it comes to attracting new corporate facilities to locate here to create new jobs. No tax hike is going to fix the real problem, which is the loss of jobs, the loss of corporate headquarters and the loss of a real tax base. Tax cuts will make the state more attractive again for businesses to locate here.
This has become clearly evident as the unemployment rate rises to more than 10 percent. More important, the underemployment rate is well in excess of double that figure. We need some real champions for change. We need champions who understand how to cut county and state budgets as well as wasteful spending. They need to be put into office.
Going For the Gold?
That is the problem. With all this Olympic cheerleading to hold the games here, we aren’t going for the gold when it comes to job creation in this state.
Instead, we are hit with job erosion that has created a tax base implosion. Are we all really rooting for the Olympics in 2016? What are we doing as a region when it comes to building a platform for global commerce in Chicago and the Midwest? What is the platform for commerce? It’s the same platform needed for hosting the Olympics: the infrastructure.
Without a solid infrastructure that includes good transportation, network connectivity and more-than-adequate power, is our region close to or far from being a real contender for the Olympics?
That should be the haunting question to the members of the Olympic committee and all the other supporting government agencies that think the Olympics would be good for regional economic development. If Chicago really wants the Olympics in 2016, it better start building a real pantheon to serve regional economic development today.
Will the city take second place when it comes to getting the Olympics? Don’t look for the Lone Ranger to ride in and help the city, counties and state legislature see the light. There is no magic silver bullet when it comes to fixing budgets and pension shortfalls.
This is where you separate the political athletes from the political couch potatoes. Any politician saying they can’t get up and cut budgets should be cut from the team. When it comes to most state legislatures throughout the country, they are facing some tough decisions that they have never had to face in their years in government.
Illinois isn’t the only state looking at multibillion-dollar deficits that they should address. California, New York, New Jersey and even Wisconsin have multibillion-dollar deficits, too. Illinois does get the gold medal, though, for having about a $75 billion shortfall on its pension funds.
The leaders in the counties as well as the state legislatures need to step up and make some hard decisions now in order to set the stage for the next decade. Status quo won’t work. Listening and submitting to special interest groups won’t work either. Cutting deep into budgets will work.
Third-Place Bronze or Third-Rate Bronze?
There are many politicians in many states facing decisions that they thought they would never have to think about. Now they have to act and need to make real decisions. They have to cut services, benefits and pensions. They might have to lay off workers in various job capacities. If they cannot do that, they should not be playing on the team anymore.
Based on the tea parties that were held in many cities over this last Independence Day holiday, many taxpayers aren’t seeing a tax hike as the solution to these growing budget problems. They simply want governments to do what they have had to in family budgets for the last several years: cut spending and cut out the waste and the frills.
It’ll hopefully become the triathlon for taxing bodies: cut spending, cut waste and cut taxes. How are your teams doing? Are they going for the gold or are they still going for your gold?
If your team can’t compete, then get rid of them. Going for the gold means building a better infrastructure to attract and maintain corporate facilities and create jobs. It doesn’t mean taxing everyone another couple percent to pay for bloated bureaucracies and failed endeavors.
Carlinism: The Olympic torch would be a good incentive to put underneath politicians needing to get started on cutting spending and taxes.
Recent columns by James Carlini
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James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at email@example.com or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at carliniscomments.com.
This column previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.