Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Brutal Honesty Breaks out at Indianapolis Council Meeting as TIF for the Wealthy Passes While TIF for the Poor is Tabled

The Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee had just approved the Midtown TIF traversing some of the wealthiest areas of the city. Then the Committee turned to considering a TIF for the Avondale/Meadows area, one of the most blighted sections of the city.  The local residents there were trying to use the TIF funding mechanism to generate a tiny fraction of the money the Midtown TIF would raise.  They simply wanted the money for infrastructure improvements to lure a local grocery store to the Avondale/Meadows area.  Of course, TIFs are supposed to be about aiding blighted areas with development, not making the rich people of an area richer with more development.

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At the conclusion of the public testimony, Democrat Steve Talley read a prepared speech that basically stated there were too many unanswered questions.  He successfully moved to table the proposal. But Councilor Talley had actually been a co-sponsor of the measure.

Tabling the issue, which had happened several times before, didn't set well with the proposal's sponsor, Republican Christine Scales.   A beautiful thing then happened, something that doesn't happen at council meetings very often - brutal honesty broke out.   Councilor Scales concluded the meeting with a splendid speech that pretty well sums up the nature of Indianapolis politics, i.e. that it is the wealthy and powerful people who get help from local government, not those who need help the most.

 This is my favorite part of the speech, beginning at about 2:40:15:
[This action] affirms that people who are poor, people who are voiceless, the least of us, do not stand a chance to get what they need.  They are getting the crumbs from the table, the crumbs."

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