Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Proposes Property Tax Increase and 9.25% Local Income Tax Increase to Fund Public Safety, Education Initiatives

After a long 6 1/2 years in office, I shouldn't be surprised by anything Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard does.  During his tenure he has never met a tax or fee he didn't advocate raising.  In this morning's big public safety announcement, Mayor Ballard continued to show why he is the most liberal mayor during my nearly four decades in Indianapolis.

As part of his big crime initiative this morning, Mayor Ballard announced:
  • Support for an end to the local homestead tax credit, resulting in property tax increases for most Indianapolis residents.
  • A 9.25% increase in the local income tax  (1.62% to 1.77%)
  • Increased tax revenue will be used to fund 280 more police officers.
  • Increased tax revenue will also be used to fund a $25 million pre-school scholarship program to be run by United Way of Central Indiana.

At 7:45 in the above 2007 video, Candidate Ballard chides Mayor Peterson for not hiring more police officers with the 65% tax increase (1% to 1.65%) in the local income tax pushed through that same year.  Yet when Ballard was elected in November of 2007, he did not push to repeal the tax increase and, like Peterson, did not increase the police force with new hires.  In fact, Ballard did far worse, presiding over a substantial reduction in the police force during his tenure, all the while profiting off the higher income tax which Ballard proposes raising again.  And taxpayers are supposed to believe Ballard?  If Ballard has shown one consistency in office it is that any additional tax revenue he gets goes to corporate welfare and the "downtown mafia" as Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana calls them, not basic city services.

In the Mayor's announcement this morning he said that the City would "explore" applying for the federal COPS grant if the Mayor got his tax increase.  The City had been receiving that grant for years to fund law enforcement officer salaries, but backed off on applying this year to gain leverage in negotiations with the council on the tax increase.

But the over 9% increase in the local option income tax wasn't enough for Mayor Ballard.  He also once again is supporting the elimination of the local homestead property tax credit which will mean tax increases for scores of Marion  County homeowners.

These additional dollars are set to fund a new initiative proposed by the Mayor, a scholarship program aimed to help impoverished families afford pre-school.  What is particularly appalling about this idea, besides the fact it won't make one dimes bit of difference in long term education achievement, is that Mayor Ballard proposes having the United Way of Central Indiana administer the program, handling millions of our tax dollars.  UWCI is run by a private board over which the taxpayers have zero say.  The United Way of Central Indiana, which acts as a charity clearinghouse, also has a history of paying its executives exorbitant salaries.  This is what I wrote about United Way of Central Indiana three years ago:
Last week United Way of Central Indiana CEO Ellen K. Annala penned a letter to the editor discussing poverty and urging people to contribute to the United Way.   
You can bet that poverty is not something Ms. Annala and her fellow United Way executives have to deal with in their personal lives.  Ms. Annala pulls in $251,720 in salary and benefits a year.  Angela Dabney, Sr. VP of Resource Development makes $168,458, Jay Gersey, Sr. VP Community Planning & Strategic Investment earns $169,100, Dale E. Depy, Assistant Treasurer, hauls in $170,275, and Nancy S. Ahlrichs, VP Workforce Development and Diversity makes $136,896.  In total, the organization paid out $7,489,393 in salaries and benefits in 2010 and reported net assets of $108,440,285.
You can bet the UWCI would break off a huge chunk of that $25 million in tax dollars for themselves before passing along the money in the form of scholarships.  That's how the United Way operates.  People are foolish to give money to the United Way instead of just giving the money to the charity of their choice.

To say Ballard's plan for Indianapolis taxpayers is bad would be an understatement.  But it is also a bad plan for Indianapolis Republicans.  Ballard won in 2007 when he beat an incumbent who pushed for a local option income tax increase and was saddled for responsibility for a property tax increase.  Now Ballard proposes, the year before the election, to raise the local income tax and property taxes.  If local Democrats are smart, and the jury is still out on that issue, they'll wrap those and Ballard's other tax and fee increases around his neck and take him down to sure defeat in 2015.


Pete Boggs said...

On this morning's show, WIBC's Tony Katz questioned this so called logic; nanny state expansion coupled with never to be rescinded / repealed tax increases, posed as a "solution."

Welcome Mr. Katz- you're a breath of fresh air.

Guest said...

Everyone call the council and yell-NO

Nicolas Martin said...

Again, the myth that profligate spending is "liberal." Since 1960 discretionary spending has been higher under Republican presidents than under Democrats. Red states get much more back for each dollar sent to Washington than blue states get. Republican spending by state and local governments is infamously profligate.

By what metric is taxing and spending more "liberal" than "conservative," if the spenders are Republican and Democrat elected officials?

Guest said...

The lobbyists are out in force in the newspaper. I have written to every councilor -please people speak up and pressure them to say NO. Besides doesn't Head Start begin at age 3 and is supposed to address early learning. How did that work out. This will be another, won't work out. The only ideas they have never involves existing money. Mayor Ballard has tried twice to wrest away the Local Homestead Credit to no avail. Now I suppose he is taking the Democrat playbook and decided to call the money grab "It's for the children" in order to get it passed.
NO to both. In spite of the glorious reports as to the state of the family economics it is not good. Every insurance has increased, along with food, you name it. Taking away the Local Homestead credit is a property tax increase by another name. Aren't there some rules when they passed 1-2-3 as to what they can increase property taxes for.
We all know more police will not solve social problems no matter what their numbers are.
Mayor Ballard needs to come back to earth and remember his comments that got him elected in the first place. He has ventured into Democrat territory where they create useless programs that just steal taxpayer money.