Monday, March 9, 2009

Indianapolis Star Calls on Mayor Ballard to Outline Legislative Plans Regarding the CIB

This morning the Indianapolis Star editorial calls on Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to outline his preferences for closing the enormous gap in the budget of the Capital Improvement Board. Of course, that is not going to happen. Neither the Mayor, nor any Republican or Democrat council member, is willing to publicily discuss the CIB in substantive terms. Only councilman Ed Coleman dared to confront the CIB situation and ask questions. It is primarily because of that reason that he was ostracized within the Republican council caucus and felt he had to leave to become a Libertarian.

The editorial though warns about the possible game plan for the remaining days of the session:
The legislature's involvement introduces its own set of pressures, including time constraints. This year's legislative session is racing into the second half with no solution or set of solutions publicly settled on and lawmakers preoccupied with the state's own budget problems.

Those competing forces raise concerns about how the closing weeks of the session could unfold. City and state leaders must avoid an all-too-common Statehouse scenario: a last minute, behind-closed-doors deal that cuts the public out of the decision-making.

Mayor Greg Ballard could help head off that storyline by soon identifying his preferred choices for eliminating the deficit. The mayor might not get what he wants out of the Statehouse, but he at least would help shape the discussion early in the process and give lawmakers time to hear from their constituents.

The various parties who would be affected by potential tax increases or other options also could be heard before the final sprint to the session's end kicks in
Of course sneaking the bailout into the budget at the last minute is the game plan. Public input on potentially raising taxes to bail out the CIB is the last thing the CIB and city leaders want. While the Star's suggestion is good, Indianapolis political leaders have demonstrated repeatedly that they intend to make the decisions, and overwhelming public opposition will not derail them from giving more money to wealthy owners of professional sport franchises..

What the Star could have also done is to note the numerous conflicts of interest on the CIB and demand that some members be appointed to that board who aren't going to simply go along with whatever CIB President, Bob Grand, or other city leaders decide. If the CIB did more than simply rubber-stamp what city leaders want done, then perhaps the CIB wouldn't be in the mess it is today.


M Theory said...

CIB Meeting today at 2pm. I probably can't be there because I am at work. They are supposed to outline plans. I'm sure the people footing the bill will have zero say in anything.

Patriot Paul said...

If the Star plays the role of watchdog, which it has self-appointedly told us during the last month, then I agree it should focus on the conflicts of interests and nepotism that are rampant in nearly every taxing body. They should be congratulated for exposing the township dilema, but fall short in offering names and the side job conflicts. If the Star really wants to put teeth in its editorials and focus issues, then start with names. Is it possible the AG office is only interested in the high profile cases. If that is a trigger, then we need to encourage the Star.

Jon said...

First of all the CIB can't have an appointed member who represents the Simons, that's a direct conflict. Second we need to be part of the discussion not informed of the 'decisions' after the fact. Third, we need to know expenditures and revenues of the CIB, cash flow, investments etc. "Show us the money".

Paul K. Ogden said...


Not only that we need to have an independent accounting of the Pacers finances. It's unbelievable that we're considering giving them $15 million without that.