Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

October 31, 2013

CRAIG LADWIG: In Indiana, it sometimes pays to be dumb

'Smart Growth' adherents restrict their local economies.

(Continued)

Thus from 1995 to 2006 the median house price in Florida relative to median household income in its four largest metro areas rose 93 percent to a multiple of 5.2, compared with the national postwar norm of 3.0. By contrast, in Texas, which rejected Smart Growth, the median multiple rose only 32 percent over the same period to 3.2.

And a report by the Kelley School of Business found that, even as the price-to-income ratio in Florida more or less doubled between 2000 and 2005, Indiana’s ratio held steady, rising just two-tenths of a percentage point between 2000 and 2005. That is a smaller increase than all but four states.

“Indiana and Michigan had the nation’s lowest price-to-income ratios in 2010 while Ohio’s was the fourth-lowest, suggesting that this region offers some of the most affordable housing in the country,” the report concluded.

Never heard any of this? Well, that’s because most municipal planners and zoners here are still determined to “pull us into the 21st century,” as they might say. Their position almost to the man being that progress, recession or not, requires more Smart Growth, more prohibitive zoning, more restrictions on the use and sale of private property.

Our good fortune is that with the exception of always-progressive Bloomington and want-to-be-progressive Fort Wayne, Smart Growth hasn’t really taken hold with Hoosiers, a determinedly not progressive, even recalcitrant, lot.

When everyone is heading in the wrong direction, you see, it pays to be a bit slow — even not smart — if you want your local economy to grow.

Craig Ladwig is editor of the quarterly Indiana Policy Review.

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