“As a business owner, I can tell you what I think about giving away tax abatements or tax dollars to companies to attract them here,” said Brewer during a half-hour roundtable
discussion with Democrat Joe Hogsett on WTHR-13. “At the end of the day, this is a race toward the bottom. Every city in America does it, and it’s OK if you are trying to develop something — but our Downtown is doing just fine.” . . .
“The real focus we need to have as a city is to create the kind of place, the kind of success that companies want to locate here not because we are giving away the farm but because this is a great place to find talented workers and this is a great place to live and raise a family,” Brewer said. “I think we’ve given away enough tax dollars and now is the time to focus on creating a great quality of life.”Welsh argues that up until that point Brewer had done little to distinguish himself from Hogsett. That is certainly true. However, politics is about perception and Hogsettt was astute enough to know there is considerable political running room advocating a change in direction of the Mayor Greg Ballard's priorities that have focused almost completely on funneling taxpayer dollars to wealthy downtown insiders and developers. That was the reason for Hogsett running two television ads saying he will put an end to the practice of cutting deals for downtown insiders. It doesn't matter that Hogsett's credibility on that front is more than suspect (Welsh regularly addresses this on his blog while Brewer remains silent.). Up until the WTHR broadcast Brewer had pledged to continue the Ballard corporate welfare agenda that has played a major role in Mayor Ballard supporting more than 40 plus tax and fee increases.
The change in Brewer's campaign strategy is welcome even if it comes too late to save his candidacy. At stake in the election are scores of marginal Republican districts which will turn red if Republicans stay home, disenchanted by a mayoral candidate who only recently learned to spell the word "conservative."