Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coalition of Indianapolis Republican and Democratic Council Members Pass 43% Increase in Public Safety Tax

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports:
In a bipartisan vote, the Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night approved a proposal by Mayor Greg Ballard to raise the public-safety income tax by 43 percent, partly to fund additional police recruits.

The public-safety income tax will go from 0.35 percent to 0.5 percent, making Marion County’s total income-tax rate 1.77 percent, effective Jan. 1.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
The 0.15 percentage-point hike will cost the typical Marion County household, earning about $42,000, another $5.25 per month.

Ballard, a Republican, proposed the income-tax hike in conjunction with eliminating the homestead tax credit in order to pay for a preschool program that he believes is a step toward long-term crime reduction. The homestead credit provision was stripped from the income-tax proposal in committee and reintroduced as a separate measure, now headed for its own committee hearing at a later date.
An amendment that would have re-joined the two measures failed Monday night. In the final 19-10 vote on the income-tax hike, the dissenters were nine Democrats and one Republican, Christine Scales.
Kudos to IBJ for correctly reporting it as a 43% increase in the tax.  Yesterday on one of the TV news shows I heard it referred to incorrectly as a .15% increase in the tax.  The difference between the two is huge.  I would point out that the word "bipartisan," however,  is used incorrectly.  A bipartisan vote is one in which a majority of the members of both parties are on the same side of the issue.  Here the Democrats by a 9-6 vote opposed the tax increase so it wasn't "bipartisan.".  Almost every vote involves at least one person crossing over to vote with the other party.  That doesn't make those bipartisan votes.

But I digress.   As Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana has pointed out there is nothing that requires that this tax increase actually be spent be on hiring new police officers. The 65% increase in the local option income tax in 2007, which was also supposed to be used to hire new officers, resulted in substantially fewer officers.  Welsh believes, and I concur, that the new revenue is likely to be used to pay the new private operator of the planned Justice Center.

Welsh provides a breakdown on the vote:

Voting for the Tax Increase

MARY MORIARTY-ADAMS (D)
ZACH ADAMSON (D)
JOHN BARTH (D)
VIRGINIA CAIN (R)
JOSE EVANS (R)
AARON FREEMAN (R)
WILL GOODEN (R)
JASON HOLLIDAY (R)
BEN HUNTER (R)
ROBERT LUTZ (R)
BRIAN MAHERN (D)
MICHAEL MCQUILLEN (R)
JEFF MILLER (R)
JANICE MCHENRY (R)
VOP OSILI (D)
MARILYN PFISTERER (R)
JACK SANDLIN (R)
JEFFERSON SHREVE (R)
STEVE TALLEY (D)

Voting Against the Tax Increase

MONROE GRAY (D)
PAMELA HICKMAN (D)
LAKEISHA JACKSON (D)
MAGGIE LEWIS (D)
ANGELA MANSFIELD (D)
FRANK MASCARI (D)
WILLIAM OLIVER (D)
LEROY ROBINSON (D)
CHRISTINE SCALES (R)
JOE SIMPSON (D)

A Mayor Ballard supported amendment to also raise property taxes by eliminating the local homestead tax credit failed.  Unfortunately there was no coverage of that vote.  In fact, the online version of the Star doesn't even have a story of the 43% tax increase ostensibly for more police officers.  Instead it has a story about Councilor Sandlin's proposal to eliminate political signage on the floor of the council, a measure, regardless of merit, which will have little if any impact on city residents.

It should also be noted that once again Channel 16 is late putting up video of a council meeting so I could not include what actually happened in my story.   It used to be that council meetings where immediately uploaded to the website once they were over.  Now it might be days before they get posted, which late posting of course cuts off reporters and bloggers from timely reporting what happened at those council meetings.

1 comment:

Had Enough Indy? said...

It amuses me that they use the same tactic as sleazy used car salesmen - only $5.25 a month for some mythical wage earner.

Why not go for the late night infomercial look next time. But wait, if you call now, we'll add a second tax - for FREE !