First of all, if the purpose of these tax increases is to fill a budget gap, why is the council proposing tax increases that will give three out of every four dollars raised to the Capital Improvement Board? After all, it's the city-county budget, not the CIB's budget, that faces a structural imbalance of $46 million. The original council-approved budget vetoed by the mayor provided an additional $15 million for the city-county budget for public safety that would have been payable from the CIB's $65 million in cash reserves. Why are we giving millions more annually to the CIB, while asking other city-county agencies to cut their budgets by 5%?Welsh continues:
... When CIB officials were asked the purpose of the millions in additional revenues, the answer was simply that it would be used for operations. Nobody asked if giving annual subsidies of $10 million a year to billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers, which was not included in the council-adopted budget, constitutes an operations expenditure.Not only are those good questions, those are OBVIOUS questions to ask. Yet, of course, our Indianapolis City-County Councilors can't seem to muster up the courage to ask questions that might make the recipients of our tax dollars a bit uncomfortable when it comes to explaining what they're going to do with our money. If Councilors are not going to do their jobs in protecting our tax dollars, they should do the public a favor and resign.
Third, why isn't the council demanding answers from the Indiana Pacers about their need for annual subsidies to operate Banker's Life Fieldhouse?...
This is an important point to reiterate. The administration and the council is trying to tell the public that the 50% increase in car rental tax and 67% increase in admissions tax is about public safety and plugging a budget shortfall. It is all a slight of hand trick. They want you to focus on that, rather than the fact they are giving away 75% of the new revenue from the tax increases to the CIB which is flush with cash. To make things worse, the deal caps the amount the City can receive so that if revenues from the tax increases reach a certain threshold the CIB gets 100% of the tax increase money.
The Advance Indiana article can be found here.