The Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee voted 6-4 to send the plan to the full council for a vote. If approved, it would raise $29 million a year for police by increasing the local police income taxes about $64 a year for a resident earning $42,000 annually.The 6-4 vote was along party lines with the GOP in the minority. Amazingly Republicans Councilors such as Ben Hunter and Aaron Freeman didn't vote against the proposal because of the income tax increase, but rather because they also wanted to raise residents' property tax too. Yes, Indianapolis Republicans (with the exception of Councilor Christine Scales) are upset with Democrats because they do not support increasing taxes even more.
As proposed, I don't believe there is any restrictions on the revenue with public safety, that the money would be required to be used to hire more police officers as opposed to, say, paying the new revenue to the proposed new Justice Center, the cost of which has already skyrocketed to over $600 million? After all, the last increase in the local income tax in 2007, the majority of which was supposed to be used to hire more police officers, resulted in fewer officers being hired? Why should we believe it would be different this time?
I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the Star's writer assertion that the proposed tax hike is "a slight income tax hike." That word "slight" seems like an editorial insertion instead of what a journalist, trained in presenting a story in an unbiased fashion, would write. In fact, it is an increase of more than 9% (1.62% to 1.77%) in the local option income tax and, if viewed more narrowly, a 43% increase (.35% to .50%) in the public safety portion of that tax. The tax increase is hardly a "slight" one.