For the publisher:
In a letter to the editor published in the November 20 edition of The News Sun, Lori Gagen claims that I misrepresented the position of the Noble County Executive Director of Economic Development in a previous letter by writing that he “ would support (the proposed Baseline Road widening and flattening) project. “She claims that she was present at the meeting in question and that her comments were of a general nature and did not in any way constitute an endorsement of that particular project.
Still, the News Sun article I referred to said, “Noble County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gary Gatman was in attendance for Monday’s meeting on another topic, but weighed in on the impact for the NCEDC of a flatter and wider base road. ” This article says quite clearly that the general manager was specifically referring to the Baseline road project. I was not there. I don’t know which interpretation of what Mr. Gatman said is correct. If Lori Gagen is correct in her interpretation, thank you for clarifying it.
Consider the claim that good roads are important for economic development. In general, this is true. It could be used to justify any road project. On the other hand, high taxes discourage economic development. How do these generalities apply to rural roads and the county motor vehicle excise surcharge? Larry DeBoer and Anita Yadavalli of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University examined this issue in detail in a study titled “Indiana’s County Motor Vehicle Excise Surtax and Wheel Tax” On page 36 of their study they state: “It There is ample evidence that more and better roads promote economic growth and that higher taxes discourage growth. But the evidence indicates that interstate highways are the roads that matter, and that large-scale property and income taxes are the taxes that matter. There is little evidence that local roads or the surtax / wheel tax have a significant effect on growth. In other words, there is little evidence that the Baseline Road project is likely to significantly promote economic development.