Sunday, February 8, 2009

Will Mayor Ballard Draw a Challenger in 2011 GOP Primary?

The frustration level has been building for some time with Marion County Republicans and others supporters of Mayor Greg Ballard who thought, in 2007, they helped elect a populist candidate who would put the interests of taxpayers first. Instead, by all accounts, Mayor Ballard is going down the same road as his predecessors in putting the corporate interests in the city ahead of the long-suffering Indianapolis taxpayers. Now comes news that his administration is working behind the scenes to raise taxes to plug the hole in the Capital Improvement Board's budget, taxes that will go to continue subsidize wealthy owners of the Colts and Pacers.

It all started during the transition when populists within the Mayor's campaign were quickly pushed aside by the elitist, country-club wing of the Republican Party who favor the continuation of corporate welfare policies in the city. Those of us who watched it happened hoped the takeover was temporary and that Mayor Greg Ballard would wake up and be a tough marine who recognized there were enemies within his own camp masquerading as his friends. Alas, thirteen months later there is no sign of that happening.

Worse yet, with the plans of the administration to give more taxpayer money to wealthy sports team owners, it is apparent that Mayor Ballard will not only on a path to doom his own re-election in 2011 but will stain the reputation of every Marion County Republican elected official and candidate. If one thing should be evident from the last eight years, when Republicans are no longer seen as the low tax, smaller government party, they lose.

While some of my Republican friends have written off Mayor Ballard already, I still think he has more time, maybe another year, to right his mayoral ship. By this time next year, the 2010 election cycles start and his misdeeds are too late to correct. If by January 2010, Mayor Ballard is going down the same road of higher taxes, more corporate welfare, and a refusal to address serious conflicts of interest within his administration, it might be time for more populist and reform-minded Republicans to consider supporting a Republican challenger to Mayor Ballard.

While the perks of incumbency assure that Mayor Ballard can raise the money to easily defeat all but a wealthy, self-financed GOP challenger, it is important that at least in the primary that the Republicans have a candidate to choose who stands up for taxpayers against those who would perpetuate corporate welfare and who is committed to running an ethical administration, free of conflicts of interest. So far Mayor Ballard has fall far short of those principles. Let's hope he wakes up and smells the coffee before it is too late.

9 comments:

Sean Shepard said...

I don't know all of the names and affiliations of those that advise the mayor; but, one concern I definitely have is whether or not some of them are dealing at both ends (of course - since this almost always happens - the answer is probably yes).

Is anyone advising the mayor about what can, can't, should or shouldn't be done about the sports franchises' who also represents either or both of the professional teams and/or is, directly or via family relationship, a partner in any of those firms.

If so, they need to recuse themselves from directing public policy in this area.

This issue is at the point where a lot of us don't really care what the CIB thinks, we want to know what the Mayor, the City Council and the Governor think (since this issue extends beyond just Marion County taxation). This needs to be public so the rumor and speculation can be set aside and we can know where they really stand.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Sean,

Absolutely many are dealing at both ends. And the Mayor is getting the short ends. He doesn't seem to understand that much of the political advice he is getting is colored by the fact that his advisers have other irons in the fire besides his political success.

Anonymous said...

Paull, Why don't you run for mayor, you ran for county clerk. It is the same number of precincts in the county.

Patriot Paul said...

We will never know the content of documents that were shredded during Peterson's last term. But Ballad inherited alot of foolishness and indebtedness, and with only 1 yr.& 1 month under his belt, I would rather have him than a re-elected Peterson. That said, we do expect campaign promises to be fulfilled, such as accountability, and clearly heads should roll for continued amateur handling of taxpayer $. One or two behind bars would sent a 'grand' message.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 7:22: Well unfortunately I'm not independently wealth to make such a candidacy possible.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Paul...Ballard didn't have money either.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Yeah, but he wasn't running against an incumbent in his own party in a primary.

Anonymous said...

Ballard will lose against you Paul, really!

Republicans are upset and you would get campaign contributions from the many that aren't supporting Ballard. Ballard is getting kick-back money right now from those who are getting contracts or seeking contracts.

THE PEOPLE have not donated yet, we are waiting for a candidate. You WOULD get a lot of contributions.

Ryan Vaughn, CCC D-3 said...

Paul,

I've done my best not to entertain your post mostly due to your unhealthy hatred for all things Barnes and Thornburg; however, the post merits a brief response.

Your post wonders from its theme a little but you seem to be implying that Mayor Ballard's administration to this point has not been a "low tax" "smaller government" (i.e. Republican) administration.

I wonder how you could possibly arrive at that conclusion given the following facts: 1. How many times has the Ballard administration raised your taxes? (Answer: 0 (vs. 21 times under the prior administration)). How many times has the Ballard administration lowered your taxes? (Answer: this could go one of two ways. First, I sponsored and the Council approved a COIT decrease- admittedly small- but a decrease none the less. Second, we have a balanced budget that spends less than it did last year (i.e. we are collecting less tax dollars). Now I'll admit the second example is subject to interpretation based on loss of assessed value and rate adjustments, but the bottom line is we are collecting fewer property tax dollars and fewer income tax dollars. You haven't seen that in 20 years let alone 8. To add to this point, who is the only Mayor in the state testifying in front of the Senate IN FAVOR of property tax caps.......you guessed it, Mayor Ballard.

Now as to smaller government, I could spend an hour discussing the list of agencies (like the Justice Agency) that we consolidated or eliminated. Additionally, guess who was publically asking for the consolidation of township assessors.....same guy. See also the proposal before the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee which consolidates another township fire department into IFD - the right way, this time.

Less tax dollars, fewer government agencies and an advocate for property tax caps.......Sounds like a good Republican to me.

Do us all a favor and don't respond to this post with your usual "BUT look how bad Barnes and Thornburg is!" Just admit that when it comes to taxes and the size of government, Ballard's on the right track.