Recently, the Noblesville City Council voted to award SMC Corp. a multi-year, multi-million dollar tax abatement to expand its Noblesville facility. As I told the city council, I think that’s a mistake, and here’s why.
When SMC first moved here, Noblesville was generous to them. We offered a tax break; they took advantage of it and thrived. Good for them, good for Noblesville.
But now that they’ve been here for a few years and want to expand, it makes no sense to extend a further tax break considering where they want to expand. It’s clear we aren’t working within the spirit of the law that permits these abatements. It says right in the resolution that the land (must) be undesirable because of a lack of development, obsolescence or substandard building. This is some of Noblesville’s most valuable land and isn’t any of those.
I don’t blame SMC for asking. We’ve conditioned businesses to ask for concessions from communities by using these tools, inappropriately, for years. But it’s incumbent on you, as representatives of the taxpayers, to push back and say no. We love you, SMC, we want you here, but we need you to pay your way like everyone else.
It’s not like we don’t need the money. Just a couple of years ago you had to raise taxes just to pay for basic infrastructure maintenance: repaving alleys and sprucing up the downtown. I suspect if we hadn’t been giving away millions in tax abatements, perhaps we wouldn’t have had to raise taxes for basic maintenance.
Recently, I was at a meeting in Fishers where IKEA bragged that they opened their store with no economic incentives from the city. So, it is possible to land good businesses without incentives. I say to SMC: Please stay here, grow here, thrive here, but pay your own way like everyone else.
Mike Corbett, Noblesville