Jon Murray of the Indianapolis Star this morning pens an article on Ballard's decision, which includes the following telling paragraph:
But where Ballard sees fiscal stewardship, Democrats -- and some of Ballard's most fervent earlier backers -- say he has spurned his anti-tax stance from the campaign trail. They cite his support for a hotel tax increase, hikes in dozens of fees and financial support for the Indiana Pacers.Murray's observation is an understatement. I have trouble finding anyone who worked for Ballard in 2007 and still supports him today. The tax activists and fiscal conservatives who supported Ballard against big spending, tax increasing Peterson long ago left when Ballard proved himself to be an even bigger spender and tax increaser than Peterson.
Murray's list of Ballard's perceived fiscal sins is far shorter than what it could be. The first opportunity to show fiscal responsibility for Ballard was with the CIB mess. Ballard though never once asked for an accounting of money that was spent or any sort of fiscal responsibility from the CIB. Instead Ballard supported tax increases to bail out the CIB. These include not only the aforementioned hotel tax increase, but he also supported an increase in the car rental tax, the alcohol tax, the food and beverage tax, as well as an increase in the ticket tax.
Ballard has also supported a regional sales tax to fund mass transit and road repair. Ballard supports the continuation of the county excise and wheel tax set to expire January 1st. He campaigned to roll back the increase in the county option income tax and has not even attempted to do that. Ballard has proposed scores of fee increases, which along with the taxes hikes, now total over 100.
Ballard did a fake sale of the utilities from one public entity to another to create a pile of cash. That triggered the need for Citizens Energy (the "buyer") to take out a loan that we the public will be paying off for the next 30 years. Ballard is using the pile of money generated by that 30 year loan to pave roads, an improvement that will last at best 10 years.
Ballard's spending has been reckless beyond belief. He strongly advocated giving $33.5 million in tax dollars to the billionaire Simons, the owners of the Pacers. He supports a nearly $100 million loan for the developer of the so called North of South (No-So) project even though no other lenders will support the project. He gave a 50 year no bid contract to ACS to make money off city's parking meters, a deal we won't be able to break. His East Market Street development project is being revised so that more taxpayer money can be infused into the sweetheart deal.
At every opportunity, insiders have been using politically naive Mayor and their positions within the city government, to cash in for themselves and their friends.
Apparently someone hasn't forgotten that Mayor Ballard promised not to seek a second term if he didn't cut city government by 10%. Gary Welsh reports on Marion County Libertarian Party Chairman Tim Maguire's reaction to the Ballard announcement:
The Libertarian Party of Marion County (LPMC) is surprised to hear that Mayor Ballard will be making a campaign announcement on Saturday, since all signs point to the suggestion that he will be a candidate for Mayor again in 2011. As per his campaign promise back in 2007, then-candidate Greg Ballard informed the publicYes, broken campaign promises...that pretty much sums up the record of our delusional Mayor. This Republican will not forget how he sold out the future of the Marion County Republican Party as well as the people who fervently supported him during the 2007 campaign. Those people ended up with a knife in their backs once Ballard was elected, courtesy of people like Bob Grand, Joe Loftus and other insiders who chose cashing in over building a future for the Republican Party in the county.
that he would not run for re-election if he did not cut the budget by at least 10% by the third year (not including public safety). A quick comparison of the 2008 budget with the just-passed 2011 budget finds no such budget cut.
"I am very surprised that Ballard decided against honoring his campaign promise not to run again if he wasn’t able to cut the budget by 10%," stated Timothy Maguire, LPMC Chairman, "especially since the budget cuts necessary would have been so easy to make. Even without the benefit of a full time team of lawyers and accountants, we were able to find at least $65 million that could have been cut off the top of the 2011 budget."
"When I ran as part of the 2007 GOP campaign team," commented At-Large City-County Councillor Ed Coleman (L), "it was because I and other small government advocates believed Greg Ballard's promise to reform government and reduce the spending. It was broken promises like this that prompted me to abandon the failed Republican Party and its bloated-government policies. I urge Indianapolis citizens to join with me in supporting candidates from the Libertarian Party, the only party left that still advocates smaller government, less spending and lower taxes."
"Our only regret is that the Mayor decided that the government budget was more important that taxpayer's pocketbooks, or his own campaign promises," said Maguire. "Many of us were hopeful that the Republicans were serious this time about the small government policies they usually just pay lip service to. Alas, this just proves once again that there will be only one party of the ballot this year speaking for the voice of the people: the Libertarian Party."
Note: I counted the comments on the Murray article. There were 35 were against the Mayor while only one brief comment appeared to support the Mayor decision to seek re-election. Yep, the Mayor has a blowout defeat in his future.