Saturday, August 11, 2012

Indy Tax Dollars Blasts Indianapolis Star's Continued Disregard of Facts Regarding City's Public Finance Policies

Fred McCarthy of Indy Tax Dollars writes some excellent articles, but this response to Matt Tully's column outlines exactly what is wrong with the Indianapolis Star and with Tully.   The problem is content. In a recent column, Editor-in-Chief Jeff Taylor failed to acknowledge any problems with the Star's content and promised (threatened?) readers that they will continue to receive the same stories under his leadership, just in a higher tech format.

Hopefully Fred won't mind my publishing his article in its entirety.  I couldn't find anything I wanted to edit out.  It is a home run from beginning to end.  Taylor needs to read it if he wants to understand why the Star continues to lose readers locally.
Star Columnist Matt Tully
We're just as tired... 
...of writing it as you are of reading it. But since it keeps happening we think public note should be made of it. 
Yes. It is the historic, ongoing, and probably the future practice of journalistic disregard of major facts when writing about this city and its public finance policies. 
Today’s column is headed, "A tough year is about to get even tougher for Ballard." The first 12 inches of a 19 inch story enumerate many of the problems facing the mayor in trying to budget for 2013. We are told of crime problems, property tax cap problems, income tax receipt problems, etc.. 
But nowhere is there mention of any questionable expenditure policies.   
There is no mention of the city building and giving away parking garages. 
There is no mention of property tax abatements and other grants and loans which have been handed out like candy canes by a department store Santa Claus. 
There is no mention of the monstrous abuse of TIF money by turning it into a slush fund to be used wherever politicians want to at the expense of ordinary and expected government programs.   
There is no mention of the commitment of nearly a billion and a half dollars in "investment" in real estate and improvements for professional sports franchises.   
There is no mention of additional direct annual subsidy in the millions of dollars for the basketball franchise.
Jeff Taylor, new Editor-in Chief
of the Indianapolis Star
Two thirds of the way into the column, we find this gem. "Remember, this is a city that has lived for years on a bare-bones budget. There is little if any fat..."   
Every one of the above "unmentionables" has been instituted with the promise that it would eventually be a financial boon to the city.
And every one of these "unmentionables" was instituted with the support of the downtown business community, the political leadership of both parties and most of the news media, specifically including the daily paper in which this column appeared.   
If this city has lived on a bare-bones budget, it has done so by the deliberate choice of the "leadership" of the city, with mis-information and half-truths providing the means of diverting tax dollars into the "unmentionables" while short changing public safety, parks, public transit and other services.   
Now there is a commission with specific recommendations concerning the establishment and operation of TIF districts which ought to be implemented immediately. But the politicians are hell-bent to start more districts - fairly obviously it would seem - before any changes can be made.    
We’re being told that, despite a 30-40 year of non-productive financial policies, we ought to dig a still deeper hole. And if we dig hard enough and fast enough, we might be lucky enough to find another "Football Game" to put into our Christmas stocking some years hence.    
A gift is not really all that pleasing when Santa has taken the money out of your bank account to begin with, leaving you unable to pay the rent. Even if Santa does tell you how great things will be by next Christmas.
Indy Tax Dollars is a blog that doesn't get a lot of attention, but it should.  It is an excellent read.


Society of Socrates said...

There is fire in the delivery of the writer...ithe words rhapsodize what is wrong.

Paul K. Ogden said...

It is an excellent article. I sent it to the new Star editor, Jeff Taylor, and copied Tully. We'll see if he takes heed.

Cato said...

It doesn't matter, Paul. The Star isn't in business to sell newspapers.

artfuggins said...

Too many people who stand to make BIG money off these TIF projects are spending a lot of time trying to sell them to the public. The public will never catch on.

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