Last week, Mayor Greg Ballard gave his State of the City address. If you missed it, you can watch the speech here. You can also read the live coverage of the speech and get the political highlights and debates from the following twitter accounts: the Ballard Campaign, Kyle Walker (GOP Chair), Adam Kirsch (Executive Director)/Marion County Democrats and Melina Kennedy’s campaign account. You’ll notice that Kennedy’s campaign seemed to let the Marion County Democrats handle response on Twitter.
After the speech, Melina Kennedy released a counter video. You can watch it here. The video starts out with the type of rhetoric you would expect to hear. The speech was out of touch, we need to do more–the typical Kennedy talking points to this point. Then, in a move that frankly surprised us, she launched into her jobs plan. We did not expect this since it is a bit early in the season to start throwing plans around and jobs should be one of the key issues of the campaign. Once she went through her points, it was pretty clear to us that the Kennedy crew should have waited until they had a better formulated plan and message. Here is what Kennedy suggested in her plan:
- Center job creation on the areas of our economy with the most potential for growth: local small businesses.
- Get government out-of-the-way by cutting bureaucracy and red tape.
- Link our small businesses with the engines of innovation: local colleges and universities.
That is essentially the bullet points of Melina Kennedy’s jobs plan. We cannot say we are surprised that the Ballard administration created more
jobs job commitments in 2010 than in the years Kennedy was Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic Director if this is the type of plan she was able to muster. The first point really has no action attached to it. What is going to be done to focus job creation on small business? And how does that not conflict with the second point of getting government out-of-the-way if part of your plan is to have government focus on job creation? That said, normally we would have just let it go if the rest of the plan was solid.
The second point was really Kennedy’s attempt to hit Ballard on fee increases. First off, we would say that this is the pot calling the kettle black. The Peterson administration raised taxes 19 times and borrowed $100 million to supplement budget shortfalls. Like kids in a candy store, they spent the $100 million in three years and now taxpayers will be paying it off for the next 20 years. The fees Kennedy references had not been increased in Indianapolis since 1979. From 1979 to 2010, the cumulative inflation is 222.43%. It seems as though some fee levels would need to increase eventually to keep up with costs. The shortfalls from these fees that had not been increased are a part of the budget deficits the City was facing.
So what exactly does Kennedy think should be done differently? Does she think the City should continue to take on the extra costs that the fee levels do not support? Should the City continue to borrow money and pass on the budget shortfalls to future generations? Does she think that Mayor Ballard should have just followed the path of political expediency and not increased any fees so we could go 40 years instead of 30 years without increasing fees? Melina Kennedy loves to tout that she is a small business owner. Would she go 30 years without increasing prices in her business? We think not.
And then we come to the third point from Kennedy: have small businesses work with local colleges and universities. Sounds great. Are they not already? If not, how are you going to make that happen? Is this part of government staying out-of-the-way again? But what really got us was the complete fluff that accompanied this part of the video. Kennedy says,
Our local colleges and universities are doing amazing research that will one day crack cancer’s tragic code or cure Alzheimer’s. Reasearch that will one day make our homes and cars more sustainable or make gas and electricity more affordable. And when those days come, and they will, I want to make sure our local businesses have partnered with our universities and are ready to take these ideas to the world market.
Wow. Call us crazy but we think Lilly is probably doing their best to “crack cancer’s tragic code or cure Alzheimer’s” but this goes back to our earlier point that this is not a plan to actually create jobs. This is political fluff that is put out by a campaign to sound like they have ideas.
If this is the best Kennedy could come up with on what is supposed to be her strongest issue then she should re-think putting out plans at all.