Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Mayor's State of the City Address and the Need for Accountability for the CIB Mess

Advance Indiana today analyzes Mayor Greg Ballard's discussion in his State of the City address and finds his comments on the CIB mess fell short:

"If you were hoping for some straight talk and specifics from Mayor Greg Ballard on the colossal financial crisis of the CIB in his State of the City Address, you will be isappointed. "We are working with Governor Daniels and the General Assembly on solutions--solutions that directly involve the users of the facilities and those who benefit from them," is all that Ballard had to offer on the "$36 million deficit" at the CIB, which Ballard laments is "grab[bing] the headlines". "[The] challenges we face go beyond the headlines, and impact our citizens every day and in every paycheck," he explains. He adds, "Placing blame for this problem is not important, but fixing the problem is."

I couldn't disagree with Ballard more on that last point. Assessing blame for the current CIB requires analyzing how we got ourselves in this mess and what we can do to avoid facing similar problems in the future. Even worse, it clearly signals his belief that the problem can only be corrected by increasing public expenditures. While Ballard offered zero specifics on what he means by asking "users of the facilities and those who benefit from them" to provide the money for the additional spending, we know from well-placed leaks to the mainstream media what he has in mind. He wants anyone who attends an event at one of the facilities to pay a ticket tax. He wants to capture revenues which would otherwise fund other government services from an expanded development area around the CIB facilities and divert them to the CIB. He wants higher taxes on food and beverages and hotel stays. There's even talk of imposing a local income tax on people who work in Marion County but lived outside of it."

I would concentrate on Welsh's comment, "Assessing blame for the current CIB requires analyzing how we got ourselves into this mess and what we can do to avoid facing similar problems in the future." Truer words have never been spoken. One of the problems we have historically had in this city is a lack of accountability of city leaders. We are quick to praise them for being forward thinkers when they negotiate some big corporate deal, yet we never want to look at the fine print. Well, folks, the fine print is now biting us in the ass. Yet is anyone calling on Fred Glass and Bart Peterson, for example, to be held responsible for the poor deal he negotiated with the Colts? Nope.

1 comment:

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Fred Glass AND Peterson should be held accountable for it.

Also, people need to know that the Ft. Wayne mayor is gunning to create a CIB to put on the backs of their poor citizens up there too!