Previously reticent elected officials say they fully support an income tax hike for expanded public transit now that voters approved a measure on Tuesday’s ballot.
City-County councilors said the wide margin by which the referendum passed, 59.3 percent to 41.7 percent, lets them push for the maximum tax allowed.
"I'm prepared to pass it at the full amount," said Council President Maggie Lewis. "And I think that by passing by such a large margin it gives a lot of councilors cover to do so."
The council still has the option of not approving any tax or passing one that is smaller than the 0.25 percent maximum tax, which equals $130 a year for Marion County resident earning $50,000 annually.Of course, fiscally responsible Republican leaders on the council opposed the maximum soaking of Indianapolis taxpayers. Kidding.
Republican City-County Councilor Jeff Miller said voters made their preference known loud and clear.
“I would say that is a convincing enough (referendum vote) margin for the full tax,” saidThe "logic" employed by Lewis and Miller is patently absurd. How does the margin of the referendum passing, a measure in which voters were simply giving the authority to the council to adopt a tax to help mass transit, have anything to do with how much those voters wanted the tax raised? Maybe voters assumed that Indianapolis City-County councilors would act as responsible stewards of our tax dollars? Of course, if they followed local politics, those voters should have known better.
Of course it is absurd to claim that a positive vote of 59.3% to 41.7%, a margin which translates into a victory of just a few thousand votes, is a huge electoral victory.
I have long heard Indianapolis council members argue that the State Legislature should not limit the ability of Indianapolis to raise its own taxes. This is yet another example of why the Indiana General Assembly should never ever do that. Indianapolis' leaders have time and time again shown that they will irresponsibly max out any taxing authority given to them.
But at least the huge tax increase will go to making great improvements to the bus system, right? Wishful thinking at best. Twice in the last few years, Indianapolis greatly increased the local public safety tax expressly to increase the number of Indianapolis police officers. Yet Indianapolis has fewer police officers than they had before those tax increases.
Unfortunately the Indianapolis Star article simply reports as true the claims regarding improvements that will be made to the bus system with the maxed out tax, all the while ignoring the fact that time and time again Indianapolis officials raise local taxes with the promise to do certain things that never ever get done.
We know from Indianapolis' entrenched two party pay-to-play political system that only a fraction of the tax money raised will go towards improving the city's mass transit system. Much, if not most, of those tax dollars will end up in the pockets of politically-connected contractors and others who regularly benefit from Indy's corporate welfare culture...
If this past election teaches us anything, it should be that voters are tired of elected officials using their positions to make the elites more wealthy at the expense of hard working men and women who are continually asked to pay higher taxes. Our council leaders should show some courage and stand up for local taxpayers and against the elites who want to soak them with ever more higher taxes.