Monday, April 5, 2010

Reader Calls Star Out on Claim Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Has "Held the Line" on Tax Increases

In a staff editorial in the Indianapolis Star on recycling, editors saw fit to include the line that Mayor Ballard has "held the line" on taxes.

It was a baffling statement, contradicted by two plus years during which the Ballard administration has repeatedly proposed raising taxes and fees.

Fortunately a Star reader picked up on the gross misstatement in a letter to the editor this morning:
The statement in the editorial "Recycling beats trash talking," March 27, that Mayor Greg Ballard has held the line on tax increases simply doesn't hold water. Ballard was elected on widespread anti-tax sentiment, vowing to repeal the bipartisan-supported income tax hike enacted to fund 200 additional police officers, and promising no new taxes during his administration.

It looked good in the paper. But more than two years into Ballard's term, Indianapolis residents are still waiting. Instead of a full repeal of the income tax, Ballard delivered a fraction of his promise. Instead of no new taxes, Ballard has solicited 30 tax increases: one sewer rate hike, two water rate hikes and 27 user-fee hikes ("Indianapolis wants to boost user fees," Dec. 23, 2009). And instead of "holding the line" on city spending, each of Ballard's budgets have increased the property tax burden on residents.
To see rest of letter click here.
The reader left some of the tax increases out. During the CIB bailout discussion Mayor Ballard also proposed an increase in the alcohol tax, the food and beverage tax and succeeded in pushing a proposal to increase the hotel tax giving Indianapolis the highest combined hotel/sales tax in the country. Oh, and let's not forgot he has on the table his proposal to increase the rental car tax and the tax on tickets to CIB-venue games. Not satisfied with those tax increases, our Mayor is pushing a regional road construction/mass transit plan (which he insists is for economic development not fixing transportation problems) which would be funded by another local sales tax increase.
This article focuses on politics, including political strategy. Any Republican who actually thinks Mayor Ballard can run on a platform that he has "held the line" on taxes will be in for a shock. The Democrats will wrap the issue of tax/fee increases around Mayor Ballard's neck. I guarantee it. I can see the TV spot now. It will start with footage showing candidate Ballard in 2007 speaking at tax rallies, promising to not raise taxes and to roll back the 2007 county option income tax increase. The video freezes on an unflattering shot of Candidate Ballard. Scrolling across the freeze frame will be a nearly endless list of taxes and fees Mayor Ballard has proposed raising.
The spot will make point that 1) Mayor Ballard broke his campaign promise to not raise taxes and to roll back the COIT increase; and 2) Mayor Ballard is a hypocrite when it comes to how he campaigned and how he has governed. And you know what? The Democrats would be 100% accurate.

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