Monday, January 21, 2013

Members of Indianapolis Council Committee Fail to Demand Answers for Taxpayers About 50% and 67% Increase in Local Taxes

I watched the rest of the Indianapolis Council's Administration and Finance Committee meeting this morning.  Listening to an eastside councilor ask detailed questions of an Enterprise Rent-A Car representative, then criticizing him when he couldn't answer all of them was almost unbearable.  That same councilor never bothers to extensively question people continually coming before the council with their hands out wanting our tax dollars.  He's not alone.  City leaders are spinning the 50% increase in the car rental tax and 67% increase in the admissions tax as being for "public safety" and to balance the city's budget, while completely ignoring the fact that 75% of the money from the tax increases goes to the Capital Improvement Board which is flush with cash.   Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana states it best:
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.

 Third, why isn't the council demanding answers from the Indiana Pacers about their need for annual subsidies to operate Banker's Life Fieldhouse?...
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.

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.


Jon said...

Just more Biased Sludge (bs) from our councilors. The temerity of the taxpayers demanding accountability and transparency from our elected officials is simply outrageous. Of course the CIB needs more of the revenue than city government, after all the city is not giving me free Pacer tickets or free Colts tickets. And the CIB can't expect to keep billionaires happy on the mere pittance given to the CIB those poor struggling billionaires can't be expected to pay for their own toys.

luisa williams said...

If the government's reasons on increasing the local taxes are all intended for the community's own sake then the people will not question about it but mind you, not unless these people see any improvements or developments the government should expect rants and criticisms from them. Therefore, the LGU should project positive impact on these which includes the system of in distributing different tax forms like the 2290 for heavy use tax.

Luisa Williams

Geoff Granfeld Jr said...

I had a loan that involves this kind of complex taxes that I cannot clearly understand. The lender and I cannot settle an agreement because of this complexity. I am looking for foreclosure attorneys that could help me understand how the whole process works.

Geoff Granfeld Jr

Anonymous said...

Didn’t they think of lowering the budget first? Tax increase is never good news. They should balance out everything to prevent this type of problem because it will affect everyone else badly.

-Grace Waddy