Moody Criticizes Mayor's Budget Proposal
Offers Economic Recovery Solution
TOLEDO, OH- Jim Moody will be unveiling his economic recovery plan this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at his campaign headquarters located at 5166 Monroe Street, Toledo. Moody will be offering specific solutions to the economic recovery of Toledo and Northwest Ohio. Included in his remarks will be his plan to raise $100 million dollars for infrastructure repairs and economic development.
Moody will also be offering specific solutions in response to the recent mayoral budget proposals.
"The mayor's solution of filling budget gaps by charging for fire calls won't fix anything" says mayoral candidate Jim Moody. "This is a band-aid proposal that only appears to bring a temporary solution, but might end up costing Toledo residents even more money," he added.
According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, most insurers already pay as much as $500 to cities to offset firefighting expenses. The number is based on insurance riders that are commonplace with most insurance policies. According to Mary Bonelli, a representative with the Insurance Institute, "insurers' only obligation is to the client who contracted the insurance'.
"The city will not be able to collect any substantial amount of money through this initiative. By offering this proposal as a means to help balance the budget, the Mayor's office is banking on a source of revenues that won't be there," said Moody.
Moody went on to say that, "this is just another example of the lack of leadership Toledo has with the current administration. We need bold leaders who are willing to make the tough decisions necessary to put Toledo back on solid financial ground"
In addition to failing to grow Toledo's revenue, this type of legislation could end up costing taxpayers even more. If insurers have too many restrictions placed upon them or are required to increase their risk exposure, there is a real risk they will either charge homeowners more or, worse yet, simply leave the area. Fewer insurance companies could lead to higher prices or an individual's inability to get any insurance at all," added Moody. He cited Florida's recent loss of insurers as a result of that State's recent restrictions placed on insurers.
Moody feels there are better and more cost effective alternatives.
Jim Moody, Candidate
Mayor of Toledo
The City of Toledo is at a crossroads the like few of us have seen in our lifetime. Business is constricting, property values are falling and our children are leaving us in the hopes of finding economic opportunity elsewhere. There is not a single person in Toledo who does not know our economy is in trouble. Yet, even in adverse times, Toledo has historically attracted leaders who found ways to be successful and help Toledo grow.
Leaders like John Willys, who provided a real payroll for his employees while other employers were paying in script during the panic of 1907, or the Stranahan brothers who moved their fledging spark plug company here to become a world leader in manufacturing or Henry Theobald, who when fired from the National Cash Register Company, co-founded Toledo Scale or finally Michael Owens, a coal stoker who through his own determination, helped define Toledo as the Glass Capital of the world had two things in common. First they had a passion to grow their companies and second, they located in a city where the city government stayed out of their way
Toledo needs a change of leadership, a change of attitude and a change of perception. Toledo needs to get back in the business of being in business.
We must let the world know that Toledo and its neighbors are open for business. It takes more than a slogan to be business friendly...it takes action. Even now business leaders are saying that they want a seat at the table of community leadership; for too long professional politicians have been making the wrong decisions for Toledo and its neighbors. Not only do I want business to have a seat at the table; I want business to build the table.
The first thing Toledoans can do to change the perception the world has of Toledo is to elect someone from the business community. Toledoans need to help elect a leader who understands what it means to meet a payroll. We need a leader who understands that we must keep our customers happy, a leader who keeps a budget and doesn't borrow on the backs of taxpayers, a leader who understands we must always reevaluate and adjust and a leader who understands that for business or government to succeed it must often retool. The perception people have of Toledo will only change when Toledo changes.
We must change the perceptions that not only are we not business friendly but that we are indeed tax addicted. We must stop promoting taxes in our area. We must understand that to promote taxes on plastic bags gives the impression that we are tax friendly. We must understand that promising to increase taxes to provide free college education gives the impression that we are tax friendly. We must understand that to use tax payer money to promote the private individuals ownership of art gives the impression that we are tax friendly. We need to understand that business will not locate in a community that constantly looks for ways to increase taxes and fees.
We must change the perception that organized labor prevents business from succeeding, that organized labor prevents innovation and that organized labor cannot work with management. One of the easiest ways to let the world know that these perceptions are not true was suggested to me by a successful businessman here in the Toledo area. I urge organized labor to invite management to walk with them at the next Labor Day parade. A parade where labor and management participates as equals will show the world that Toledo is open for business and that the greatest, most successful workforce in the world is ready, willing and able to make our region a manufacturing and technology powerhouse. This sign of unity will be a first for the region, a first for the Nation and a first for the world.
We must stop the impression that City government will compete with private enterprise. Who amongst us would risk all we have only to have the government take it away from us and do the business themselves. Impossible you say...try telling that to the ambulance owners and tow lot operators the city put out of business. Both are businesses the City has learned that it cannot successfully run.
Not only must we stop competing with local business, we must stop interfering with how businesses operate. Case in point, the city legislated how much companies who want to do business with the city must pay their employees and the type of healthcare they must offer. Now, some professional politicians want to apply the same policies to county government. One can only imagine how much extra these policies cost you and me...the hard working taxpayers. Do they not realize that dictating to business only deters business from wanting to come to our area? I have had no less than three commercial real estate brokers tell me that business owners have told them they would not locate to Toledo and LucasCounty as a result of our current leadership. Don't believe me? Just look at all the growth in northern WoodCounty, development that could have landed here if business owners had the right perception of Toledo.
While the Mayor's office cannot create jobs it can set the tone that encourages employers to locate and grow here. I promise a Moody Administration will meet and encourage business leaders. A Moody Administration will respect and honor appointments set with business leaders and a Moody Administration will let the world know Toledo is open for business!
One of the first ways we will change the perception the world has of Toledo is to engage and listen to the business leaders who already are here. Within the first 45 days of a Moody Administration, we will resurrect the Committee of 100. We will identify and recruit local leaders of industry. We anticipate these leaders will come from trucking and transportation, real estate and construction, education, technology and utilities, medical and other important fields.
Unlike anything that has been seen in the past, these committees will meet no less than once each month. We will establish and publicize quarterly and annual goals; goals that include attracting business and creating the best possible workforce.
The first responsibility of these committees will be to identify and reduce the ‘anti-business' regulations that are stopping companies from expanding and keeping jobs. Second, we will develop a plan that helps local businesses grow. Whether through trade expeditions or through mentoring programs, we will grow our job base in Toledo.
In addition to seeking the help of Toledo's brightest and most innovative, we believe the leaders of Toledo must take the right kind of action, not action that costs taxpayers more money on unproven development schemes but real action.
We must fast-track intermodal transportation. We must create the right environment for intermodal customers to come to Toledo. We need an environment that has chassis available here in the area for containers to be loaded upon, an environment that encourages the railroads to expand their facilities, and environment that allows international shipping through our own customs depots. We need an environment that trains and grows a workforce ready to meet the demands of these new employers. No option should be taken off the table including selling an equity interest in our airport and using the proceeds for infrastructure improvement. Think about it, if we could sell a portion of our airport for $100 million dollars, imagine the possibilities. First, who would invest $100 million dollars without investing in the region as a whole, no one? Jobs will result from the new partner‘s desire to build upon their investment; $100 million dollars we could use to fix our streets, retire debt the city has obligated our children to pay with nothing in return. Make no mistake, Toledo will still have a vested interest in its airport and people will still be able to fly from Toledo express...we'll just have an airport that really being used. And if you think this idea is farfetched, just look at MidwayAirport in Chicago. It was just sold for approximately 2.6 billion dollars
Not only can intermodal transportation be important but so can our downtown area. We must make Toledo a destination city, not like the mayor says by bringing our suburban neighbors to events at the BallPark and arena but by bringing people from neighboring states. One of the easiest and fastest ways is by promoting and developing our natural resources. We must encourage tourists that Toledo is a great destination. Fishing brings millions of dollars into a community s well. Just look at Port Clinton, on any given day you will find license plates from Nebraska, Minnesota, Kentucky, Indiana and even further in the parking lots of charter boat captains and public launches. What is remarkable is that until mid-late July, those captains load their boats and bring those tourists to the mouth of the Maumee river to fish. Those are tourists who should be stopping in Toledo and spending their money here, not driving through. I propose that we fast-track the cleaning and dredging of the Ottawa River. A survey by the OhioStateUniversity found that we have the potential of a $13 million dollar economic impact by making our area usable to boaters. What a great return on our investment.
Something must be done with the steam plant in downtown Toledo. For as long as I can remember that building has been sitting empty. This is a building that would make a great indoor water park, or an IMAX theater or any other tourist attraction. We must create an environment for development and then watch it grow.
Alternative energy is a given with regards to its importance to our region. However, it is not within the City of Toledo's scope or ability to produce alternative energy. The city must limit its obligation to alternative energy by providing the right environment to succeed. Toledo can become the hub for alternative energy by guaranteeing usage at fair market rates and recruiting and encouraging scientists, via the University of Toledo, to locate here. Some on City Council would use taxpayer money to fund solar experiments. Hasn't the City's history with the Commodore Perry, the Hillcrest Hotel and other failed experiments shown that it's not in the taxpayer's best interests to experiment with taxpayer money?
Not is only is alternative energy important, but all university research can lead to an economic boom. The City must work more closely with the University in helping attract scientists and create research facilities. It can help with infrastructure or facilities. The city can promote through usage contracts items like magna gas, hybrid and bio fuel technology. It is no mistake Columbus has so many upstarts as a result of its University's research. I am confident the University of Toledo can already match any university and we will work to improve this relationship.
Toledo shouldn't sit back and wait for business to come here. Just like any company that is looking to grow its market share, we should go out and bring business here. While I am extremely confident that the Regional Growth Partnership, Lucas County Information Corporation and Rocket Ventures will be successful, we intend to compliment their services, by building a ‘Go-Team'. This Go-Team will identify trade shows and attend them. Identify possible employers and recruit them and this team will be held accountable. By providing the right environment, the right research support and the right incentives, we know we can bring jobs to Toledo. Not only will a Moody Administration create a Go-Team, we will create the right kind of economic development team for the 22nd floor. Our team will have experts on utilities, labor, construction, finance and more. In other words, our economic development team will be made up of real experts and not political payoffs. This team will be held accountable and their goals and expectations will be publicized and accountable. Just like in the real world...results matter.
We need jobs now! We need to stimulate our housing market now. That is why I proposed the neighborhood STAR program. We can expect an immediate increase in housing related employment with the immediate implementation of this program. Through the neighborhood STAR program, we will reduce the cumbersome and expensive restrictions the City of Toledo has put on real estate related businesses. Do you realize the city forbids a homeowner from replacing a wall outlet without a permit, or install a vinyl window replacing a drafty wood window without a permit or using expensive labor? These restrictions prevent many owners from improving property they already own or from purchasing run down houses and fixing them up. Is it any wonder so many of the houses in our most vulnerable neighborhoods look so bad?
We intend to increase homeownership by encouraging thus so far unmet markets, by increasing HUD eligibility for officer/firefighter/teacher next door home ownership programs and by establishing a City sponsored, privately funded PMI company that helps provide credit to deserving homebuyers in this restricted market. We will increase home ownership by encouraging responsible owner financing and all of this can be done WITHOUT taxpayer money.
We have to take a more regional approach to economic development. We must quit fighting our suburban neighbors. I know, first hand, that someone making $15-17 per hour buys a home in Toledo. We get our fair share with outlying employers. We must stop using water as a weapon and instead look to develop more Joint economic development zones. The table is large enough for everyone to sit and enjoy. We just have to leave egos and selfishness at the door.
Toledo has all the tools it needs to fix our own problems. While we will surely take advantage of whatever benefits come from the economic stimulus package, Toledo cannot wait nor do we need to wait for the federal government to bail us out. Just like the time we had Willys, Stranahan and Owens, we too have the talent and resources right here in the Toledo area. All we have to do is elect the right leadership that has the political will to do what's right.