Economics

Open Thread: Is Your Town Pro-Business? Anti-Business? Let Us Count The Ways

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Today's episode of Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey is titled "Taking Care of Business

" and details the various ways in which The Mistake on The Lake makes it tougher than tough to start and operate businesses within the city's limits.

Well, what about the dump you call home? Is your burg pro-business or anti-business? Do lower taxes and less regulation really help entrepreneurs and established business folks? Or is that special pleading by moneyed interests? Consider this an open thread on what makes for a vibrant local economy and, the argument goes, a vibrant place to live. Extra credit for detailed, profanity-free experiences ripped from the playgrounds of your mind.

And set your Tivos to stun for tomorrow's episode of Stossel on Fox Business. It features Drew Carey, Dennis Kucinich, your humble narrator, and a cast of dozens talking about what went wrong in Cleveland and other once-great American cities.

Here's John Stossel hisself talking up the show:

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  1. Extra credit for detailed, profanity-free experiences ripped from the playgrounds of your mind.

    If you don’t want me to play, just say so,

  2. I’m beginning to think Stossel should just change the name of his show to Stossel and Gillespie or maybe just “reason.tv: Fox Edition”

    1. I want the Reason.TV talk show back — but now Stossel can be the band leader.

  3. How provincial that Reason assumes all its readers hail from the big city. Some of us eschew the metropolises and their extra layers of inept and overbearing governance for the simple life of Small Town, USA.

    As for whether my home embraces new business enterprises? We don’t shine to your kind around here.

      1. Hey, how do you know all of us in the town aren’t a minority? Yeah.

    1. what are you talking about? You seriously think that some small towns don’t have inept and overbearing governance? And what makes you think that reason is assuming you live in a big city?

  4. Extra credit for detailed, profanity-free experiences ripped from the playgrounds of your mind.

    Just where do you think you are, mister?

    I live in Monkey County, MD. Some businesses are more equal than others.

    1. Amen to that. The company I work for is a scant 120 people and we’ve already reached the “Oh, yeah, you guys totally want to move to Washington County” threshold set by the local nobility. Meanwhile, Medimmune can’t expand their facility fast enough.

  5. West Texas is militantly pro-business, thanks much. Comes of having “mind your own business” beaten into the rugrats at an early age.

    1. “Mind your business” is a sentiment expressed on actual American coinage of a bygone era. Would that Franklin’s folksy wisdom prevailed today.

      http://creditcom.typepad.com/……03f970c-pi

  6. Does anybody know how things are in Charleston, SC? I just found out yesterday that I’ll be moving there…

    1. My sister lives in Atlanta and frequently goes to Charleston to visit dear friends. She says it’s a great city. I have heard that from other sources as well.

  7. This is an open thread? So I can talk about my date with Warty last night?

    1. Only if you add something worthwhile to the conversation, little one.

  8. The problem I have is that I have seen “pro-business” cast in two contexts.

    One is a regime in which individuals are able to start enterprizes with a minimal amount of regulation and taxation.

    The other is one in which selected businesses get generous subsidies and tax breaks (naturally tax breaks, per se, are not bad, just the fact that they are selectively granted).

    The first is generally conducive to business formation and success. For the most part it is the model that does provide for the greatest long-term levels of success combined with the least amount of social friction. It has been my experience that people tend to be less envious of the successful entrepreneur than of someone they perceive to have been given handouts.

    Oddly enough, to me, at least, it the second model that is far more likely to to be practiced by your town. Odd to me, that is, in that the landscape seems to be littered with examples of towns that played the second “pro-business” game and are left with a hulk of a plant left behind by the business that was supposed to be the town’s salvation along with the amenities the town bought with the promised revenue from said enterprise now sagging in disrepair due to lack of funds for maintenance.

    1. I live in Chicago. Our nobility thinks that having stores like WalMart would be a disaster, because the wages they pay are too low, so instead we have people selling socks and water bottles at traffic intersections because they can’t find any work. I’ve been to cities in the third world, and you see people resorting to the same sorts of activities here as you do there. It’s awful.

  9. While yesterday I expressed a bit of annoyance at Chicago’s top five employers seen here:
    http://www.chicagobusiness.com…..KJyF3ZKmUM

    I would have to say that all things considered, I don’t think I could live anywhere else except Chicago. The privatization efforts have, obviously, been good on balance. There were some missteps along the way such as the parking meter kerfuffle where violators were being fined twice for the same violation. Privatization of Midway Airport has been taken off the table for now, but not completely ruled out. Also, once the McDonald v. Chicago case is settled, it will certainly be a better day for liberty. I can certainly understand why some people would not want to live in big cities due to their respective politics. For me, however, well I choose to live in big cities so….

  10. Nick, Kucinich is voting for the health care bill because he is upset with “the attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency”

    1. “the attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency”

      Just as with Bush and his fixation on Iraq, Obama’s fixation on “health care reform” has achieved the same already.

  11. Austin, TX proper is fairly anti-business owing to the unnatural concentration of tax consumers i.e. state government employees, colleges, students etc. I’m fairly certain that if relatively little business growth has occurred within the Austin city limits.

    However, the communities in the surrounds are focused on getting things done. Taxes and licenses are minimal, unions serve no purpose other than to file rare lawsuits under existing labor law, energy is relatively cheap, land is cheap, construction is cheap etc.

    I think it highly relevant to point out that things weren’t always this way in Texas. Up until 80’s a lot of important economic activity was tightly government controlled. The Texas railroad commission controlled the oil and gas industry to the point of fixing prices. The state trucking commission granted transportation monopolies so egregious that it was cheaper to ship something from Korea to El Paso than it was to ship it from El Paso to Austin. In state long distance service was the most costly in the nation. East Texas has real problems with old style southern cronyism and corruption.

    The bursting of the oil boom in 1984 devastated the state and we suffered under an actual depression for nearly four years while it was “morning in America” elsewhere. We had to change or die, so we did. We moved to foster an open business environment so that we could shift from an agricultural and resource extraction economy to one based on manufacturing and high tech.

    Now we’re sitting pretty. We just need to finish walling off Austin and we’re golden.

    At least until all the Californians move here.

    1. … and we’re coming. Oh god, are we coming!

      1. Been a couple of decades since I’ve heard that shouted at me.

    2. At least until all the Californians move here.

      We should start shooting them at the border. They would be tolerable if they didn’t immediately set about trying to implement the same failed policies that turned CA into a fucking basket case. Fucking ignuts move here and complain how it’s not like whatever hellhole they left. Yeah, that’s why you have a job, dipshit. Shut up or move back.

      1. See also: New Yorkers / Jerseyites >> Florida.

      2. In Oregon, one doesn’t admit to being from California, that shit will get you an ass kicking.

  12. If I started a rumor that I planned to open a factory to make superhero lunchboxes, I suspect there would be ninety nine people scrambling frantically to find a way to keep it from happening for every one person trying to find out how to apply for a job.

    A couple of years ago, the city went on an annexation spree; not because annexing *anything* made sense, but just so they could veto any planned development of the land.

    1. So why don’t we form a corporation who’s only stated goal is to create ‘distraction businesses?’

      Think about it: there’s probably a hefty value to drawing ire over proposing a sex shop to take up that building downtown that can’t seem to sustain a business?

  13. Manhattan Beach, CA. (near LAX) Plastic bag ban on large grocery stores is being challenged in court, and the current city council doesn’t know what the hell they are doing… Even though the city is running a deficit this year, they went ahead and created a “green czar” position at $80,000/yr plus benefits to combat global warming at the local level. Fry’s electronics, the largest source of business tax revenue for the city at over $1 million/yr, has declared their intent to move 1 mile north to El Segundo to be in a more business friendly environment.

  14. My home town is Albany, GA. It’s a lot like Cleveland in so far as we have the same problems, despite being roughly a quarter the size. How is the business climate? It depends on who you are.

    First, there is a bit of good. A few months back, the government put together a program that put all the various folks a new business would have to deal with at a single table so instead of spending a day navigating all the various agencies, they can spend an hour.

    Unfortunately, that’s about the sum total of the good.

    The city, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to redevelop the downtown area. Now, they’ve been trying this off and on for my either life (I’m 36 by the way), and have never been able to pull it off. The way they’re currently trying it is to offer grants funded by taxpayer dollars to businesses that take up shop space in the downtown area called “fascade grants”. Now, no one goes downtown except to conduct government business. In addition, much of the property owned down there is owned by either the City or County government, so they’re competing with private property owners for customers. In this case, it’s bad for private property owners because the taxpayers subsidize the rent on the government owned businesses.

    Probably the most anti-business thing the local government has done is the “sign ordinance”. Basically, they regulate the heck out of what kind of signs you can have, how many, etc. A popular local restaurant got hit on this law because they had their main sign with it’s marque, plus a second ground marque sign (that was there when they moved in). The city fined them, despite them having just recently given them a permit to fix the second sign. Another guy in town was fined because he put up three crosses on the roof of his building. The city argued that they constituted an additional sign.

    There’s also not much ability to put up temporary signs to let potential customers know of specials or whatever. One business had recently moved, but because of the nature of the new location and the sign ordinance, they weren’t allowed to put anything out to let folks know. Not every small business can advertise on local TV or in the local daily newspaper.

    Frankly, my hometown’s a wreck. I have to say it’s anti-business all in all, though there are select organizations that can do as they wish. It’s a freaking hell hole down here.

  15. Baton Rouge is a government town. But at least there are beautiful smokestacks surrounding the college and the capitol. Thanks to the phony scientists at the CRU, hopefully the refineries aren’t going anywhere soon. My small town nearby made it easy to buy an occupational license and I haven’t been hassled yet. Plus we’re petitioning for booze sales. I can think of worse places to ride out the coming disaster.

  16. Honolulu — 90% Democrats in legislature = libertarian fiscal hell.

  17. “At least until all the Californians move here.”

    They’re moving into West Texas quicker than a hiccup and bringin’ their liberal mindset, tryin’ to enact ordinances…smoking bans, etc.

    Bunch’a pussies ruined California…ruined Austin and Scholz’ Beer Garden…put on your jesus jumpers and walk back to where ya’ came from

  18. Alexandria, Virginia: This town thinks business should bend over and take it in the ass. Bye bye!

  19. Los Angeles California. Very bad business climate. The politicians look at business as just another pile of money to be exploited.

  20. Mountain View, CA. Very business friendly, provided name of said business is Google.

  21. Franchise Expo helps to create small businesses or gives franchise opportunity to search, buy and own franchise.

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