Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Were Rules Violated When Councilor Replaced Another on Committee Considering CIB Tax Increases? (w/Update)

Before blogging on this, I have been inquiring to everyone who knows how the Indianapolis City-County Council operates to find out how this could have legally been done.    No one has an answer.

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On January 15, 2013, the Council's Administrative and Finance Council heard and passed a proposed 50% rental car tax increase and the 67% increase in admissions tax, Councilor Jeff Miller showed up and said he would be sitting in for Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer who could not make the meeting. Miller then proceeded as if he were a regular member of the committee voting just like everyone else on the committee.

 The rules allow for council members who are not members of the committee to show up and participate in discussions but not vote. The council rules don't allow proxies and I am not aware of any rule that allows council members to simply substitute for an absent councilor on committees.

My guess is that this extraordinary move was done in case the CIB tax increase votes were close and Pfisterer/Miller's vote was needed to put it over the top. The taxes passed unanimously by voice vote, though it was later reported that there was one "no" vote on one of the taxes. Several Democratic members of the committee though said they were leaning against the taxes but voted for them to simply move the issue to the full council.  Unfortunately all the Republican councilors on the committee indicated they supported the large increases in taxes, 75% of which increased revenue will end up in the coffers of the CIB to use for "operations."

UPDATE:  I was contacted by a City-County Councilor who said he believes that there was a Committee on the Committee meeting beforehand to appoint Miller to fill in for Pfisterer on the committee. That would make legal what was done.  However, that begs the question even more why there was a need to take the extraordinary step of appointing someone as a replacement for for a single committee meeting.  Undoubtedly it was due to leadership on both sides of the aisle wanting to make sure the CIB tax increases were passed.

3 comments:

varangianguard said...

Rules?

We don't need no stinkin' rules.

Gary R. Welsh said...

None of the Democrats complained, and they control the committee.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Of course, no one complained either when they allowed Vop Osili's TIF to be revived in committee even though under the rules it was dead.