I still have family in town and don't have much time to sit and blog - but the idea of getting rid of the homestead credit appalls me so greatly that I need to at least spit out a few thoughts that might give you the gist of my reaction.
First, if you pay more in taxes - its a tax increase.
Getting rid of the homestead credit clearly demonstrates that this Mayor and his administration never did care about the residents of Indy. It just reemphasises the theme from previous budgets - cut parks budget each and every year - cut the library with token efforts to get them a million or two lately - cut IndyGo --- all the basics for quality of life for those of use who want it to be a great place to live.
The Mayor's people got their $20,000 raises - so what do they care if everyone else has to take a cut or pay more.
The homestead credit is real money saved for real people. Money they can use to a) keep their homes, b) buy their groceries, c) put shoes on their kids' feet. Its not just $22 per person, either. Maybe the math works out when you throw in people who have reached the caps and no longer benefit from any property tax credit or deduction and all the people who do not own their own home. But there is no way that the average sacrifice will be $22 for the people who are benefiting from the homestead credit - and it is disingenuous to suggest that is the case.
If the homestead credit were to be legally removed by the State Legislature, then the new tax revenue would flow to all the taxing units - not just to City coffers. Is the Mayor suggesting he split the new millions with all the units, or keep it all to himself?
One of the reasons belts needed to be tightened in all the taxing units except the City (for the City, revenues increased each year until the 2012 budget, when the Mayor just took $40 million from the consolidated downtown TIF to ease his pain) is that the property tax caps are in place to protect property owners.
The TIF districts in Indy help push taxpayers into the tax caps and account for over 30% of the 'lost' revenue for the taxing units. Ironically - the Mayor has 6 new TIF districts he wants to push through the Council so he has more gravy to spread to his favorite developers. But he wants YOU to make up the difference in City coffers by donating your homestead credit to the cause.
So, here's the diagram of how Mayor Ballard sees public money --
give as much taxpayer money to favorite developers as you can lay your hands on - sell the city's assets when necessary
give obscene raises to a handful of co-workers
reopen union contracts where you still have unions in the City and cut raises
cut parks budgets
cut Library and IndyGo budgets
ask homeowners to dig even deeper in their pockets and give up their homestead credit to pay for the loss of taxes to the City due to the tax caps, 30% of which is because of TIF districts/slush funds
create new slush funds, aka TIF districts, because all the other slush funds have been run dry - blackmail the Council into creating these new slush funds by withholding your signature from the partner benefits ordinance
give as much taxpayer money to favorite developers as you can lay your hands onOh - one more thing -- the Pacers will be getting tens of millions more money from taxpayers just as soon as this budget and the 6 new TIF districts are all approved.