Friday, September 27, 2013

Indianapolis City-County Council Committee Votes to Withhold $8 Million from RebuildIndy Funds; Money Destined for More Police Officers?

The Indianapolis Star reports:
The City-County Council’s Public Works Committee tonight held back $8 million in RebuildIndy money from next year’s budget to reserve as potential funding for more police recruits.

The panel amended and approved the Department of Public Works budget 5-2, with Republicans dissenting. Public Works Director Lori Miser said holding back that sum next year would reduce roadwork and other project spending from $50 million to $42 million.
Democrats left their intentions vague during the meeting. Afterward, Chairman Vernon Brown, a Democrat, told The Indianapolis Star that he soon may file a proposal to authorize spending from the RebuildIndy fund on police officers.
I am not a fan of diverting RebuildIndy money to public safety.  Those funds should go to infrastructure improvement, long-term infrastructure improvements (not paving roads) as the money is being paid off by the public via a 30 year loan.  But Republican councilors lose their right to claim the Democrats are being irresponsible with RebuildIndy money when they tacitly support spending $6 million of RebuildIndy money on cricket fields and advocate mortgaging the future utterly asinine idea of borrowing $150 million over 30 years, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, to spend in the next three years on infrastructure improvements, many of which improvements will only last a few years.


Unigov said...

Indy is following Detroit's path.

Divert tax money to fund private construction and public works boondoggles.

Keep diverting to the point that basic government services like police protection are cut, too.

Raise taxes.


Jon said...

And we will get another tax increase to fund public safety which again won't be used for public safety.

Indy Student said...

Jon, my understanding of the difference between the FOP's proposed tax increase and the Peterson 2007 income tax increase is that apparently, there's a specific way to trigger an income tax increase that is legally only for public safety expenses. Peterson's tax increase, however, was just a general one and was under no obligation to only put it to public safety.

NOW that being said, I haven't taken the time to independently verify the FOP's claims and I'll also say that there's plenty of waste and fraud in DPS. Having it be diverted to DPS so IFD can go fine some business owners for not "self inspecting" their buildings, or so we can bond out lease payments for the ROC, is waste. I'd be much more supportive of a public safety dedicated tax increase if it went to essential public safety services.

Jon said...

Peterson's tax increase was touted as a crime fighting package;

"He said $30 million would go to funding police and firefighter pensions, $30 million to continuing new programs like Night Court and fixes to the criminal justice system, $20 million to other crime fighting measures, including the hiring of 100 new police officers and $10 million to police and firefighter contracts."

Since the state took over the police / fire pension liabilities (around 500 million) and we didn't hire 100 new officers where did the increase in county taxes really go for the last 6-7 years?

Indy Student said...

That's exactly what I said. Peterson and co promoted it as a tax increase to public safety but there was nothing legally holding them to it.

Now, according to the FOP, there's a certain income tax they can raise that is specifically, legally dedicated to public safety.

Again, I haven't verified this myself but I heard Rick Snyder, the VP of the local FOP, explain this on Amos Brown's show. That the tax increase they're proposing legally has to go to public safety. Unlike the 65% increase from 2007, it can't be diverted anywhere else.

If this is true or not, I don't know, haven't verified it. But you can listen to Rick's comments here. He also mentioned the ROC center long before it became a story.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I will NEVER support a tax increase for public safety. We are taxed plenty. We need to stop creating all these TIF districts and giving away our tax dollars to corporate welfare.

Jon said...

My question still stands, where did the money from the 65% increase of COIT go? That's 90 million a year times 6-7 years, 540-630 million is a lot of questions...