Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bad Day for Indianapolis Taxpayers as City Announces $23 Million in Subsidies to Developer While Council Committee Votes to Raise Property Taxes

Watching yesterday's event unfold, I thought of Bob and Tom's classic "The Mr. Obvious Show." In the bit a caller calls Mr. Obvious and begins an explanation of something strange that is going on. After some discussion, it turns out to have a very obvious (hence the name of the show) explanation.  The caller ends the call by saying "Huh, I didn't see the connection."

The Indianapolis Star reports:
Yesterday morning city officials announced a new development project for the old Market Square Arena property directly east of the City-County Building.  The Star reports:

A gleaming apartment tower of silver panels and glass will rise on the site of the former
Market Square Arena, aided by an $18 million assist from the city.

In its third try to redevelop the site, the city on Tuesday picked locally based Flaherty & Collins Properties to build an $81 million complex that aims to tap into surging demand for Downtown rental living.

While two other mostly residential projects never got off the ground at the site of the old arena, city officials expressed confidence that Flaherty & Collins has the track record to carry through on its ambitious plan for an eye-catching, 28-story tower. It will sit atop a 500-space parking garage and enough street-level retail space to fit a full-service grocery or cluster of smaller retailers.
Of course, this development comes with a huge subsidy from taxpayers, nearly $17.8 million from bonds the city will float and a gift of land to the developer appraised at $5.6 million.

Meanwhile later that evening the Administration and Finance Committee voted 5-3 to raise property taxes by elimination of the local homestead tax credit.  The City needs more money for basic government services. The mayor and the councilors (at least a majority on the committee) apparently can't see the connection between developer giveaways and not having enough money to pay for police officers, fire protection, libraries, parks, etc.

As a Republican, I am most ashamed that it is Indianapolis Republicans who are consistently leading the giveaway of our tax dollars and continued pushes for tax and fee increases, most recently a property tax increase.  Mayor Greg Ballard's administration announced that the City will provide over $23 million in subsidies despite the fact that a study says the City is woefully short of police officers. Meanwhile, Republicans on the council committee (Marilyn Pfisterer, Ben Hunter and Jack Sandlin) voted unanimously to raise property taxes.  The measure passed 5-3, with two Democrats (Mary Moriarity Adams and Joe Simpson) voting to pass the tax increase out to the full committee. 

I suspect the Democrats want to ride the Republicans' support of a property tax increase all the way to the next election and provided a couple votes to keep the proposal alive.  Of course this theory assumes that the Democrats are capable of implementing a coherent political strategy which may be a bad assumption given their track record.

It is regrettable that those of us who believe in smaller government and lower taxes in Indianapolis often have to look to Democrats for support since local elected Republicans have abandoned fiscal conservatism as a political philosophy.  Our Republican Mayor and Republicans on the council who have supported every public giveaway, every tax and fee increase for the past six years.  I paint with too broad of a brush.  There are exceptions, such as most consistently Republican Councilor Christine Scales.  But they unfortunately are exceptions.

A black day for Indianapolis taxpayers indeed.


Pete Boggs said...

There is only one party of Mo-G / Big-G that goes by two names. Save for the Tea Party; there is no party, of small or Constitutional government.

Unknown said...

Republicans love welfare, not for the poor, sick, and old, but the wealthy. All it is, is more of the failed Trickle Down policy. It hasn't worked, but they insist on still doing it. You Republicans voters are so god damn dumb you let them get away with it. Nowadays so-called Christians worship the free market and not the teachings of Jesus.

Indy Rob said...

Both parties play the game of trying to make it look like the other guy look bad (Ballard making a fuss over the COIT increase), while wanting to stick their nose into the trough.

And by the way, both the Conrad and Lucas Oil Stadium were projects built and funded by the previous democratic administration.

Eventually this sort of corruption collapses under its own weight; this actually requires a willingness to prosecute those in power. The star/news used to serve as a check, I hope that bloggers like Paul continue to point out the fleecing.