Monday, October 25, 2010

Council to Take Stand On Property Tax Dollars to Pacers

Tonight's City-County Council meeting will see final adoption of the various budgets for the City, County, and municipal corporations.

The CIB budget has become the poster child for how to glam up the usually boring budget process. Just try to pass $8 million of property tax money to a sport organization; that's apparently all it takes.

The rest of the budget should pass in with little excitement.

The CIB budget, however, is different.

It is time for the individual Councillors to take a stand on the movement of $8 million in property taxes from the consolidated downtown TIF to the Pacers, through the CIB. They can amend the proposed budget to redact the $10 million total gift, or just vote against the budget as it now stands.

If no new budget is approved, the CIB would have to live on the same budget as last year. Although the CIB cried wolf throughout all of their bailout hearings in 2009, they still managed to pad the 2010 budget enough so that there was an extra $10 million in it to give to the Pacers.

If you compare the proposed 2011 budget ($104 m) with the approved 2010 budget ($94 m), there is a request for $10 m extra dollars. But, if you compare the proposed 2011 budget ($104 m) with the amount expected to actually be spent in 2010 ($85 m) you find a huge increase, amounting to nearly $20 million in new dollars. And remember, that $85 m figure includes the $10 million 2010 installment of the Pacers gift from the taxpayers of Indianapolis.

As some Councillors will try to tie the IndyGo and Library budgets to their CIB vote, let me remind everyone that IndyGo got the budget it asked for and the Library got $800,000 less than it asked for. IndyGo's 2010 budget is $75.7 m, while its proposed 2011 budget is only $63.5 m; a $12.2 m reduction. The Library's 2010 budget is $49.5 m, while its proposed 2011 budget is only $45.2 m; a more modest, but still real, reduction of $4.3 m.

Isn't it time the priorities for how we spend tax dollars get put on services for Indianapolis residents, rather than on bailouts for sports teams?

It is time for the Council to say clearly to the Capital Improvement Board - "enough". We shall see how each Councillor votes tonight, after all of the hand-wringing and declarations of it being a hard decision are over. Remember folks - it is your money they are spending.


Central Indiana Jobs with Justice said...

Come and 5:30 and help us send them a message, and then ask "Which Side Are you ON!" at the City Market before the meeting.

We're also asking people to call the Mayor's Action Center at 327-4622 and say, "I'd like to report that I don't believe Mayor Ballard should be giving millions of taxpayer money to his billionaire friends." Yes, we know that the Mayor's Action Center is for reporting potholes & trash not collected...but if Mayor Ballard keeps giving away our money there will be too many potholes to report.

Paul K. Ogden said...

It's funny how the Mayor's corporate giveaways have united fiscal conservatives and Central Indinaa Jobs with Justice in mutual outrage.

Indy Student said...

Who was the one R that voted against it? I noticed Nytes voted for it, but didn't catch the lone R no vote.

And Paul, one of the earlier versions of the Tea Party had a similar story! Libertarians back in 2006-07 would protest the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with Code Pink. This happened out in California and I think either Slate or Politico wrote a huge article on it.

Paul K. Ogden said...

IS, I believe it was Christine Scales who voted against it.