Friday, October 26, 2012

Mayor Plays Games With Budget - Trying to Blackmail Council Into Submission

Mayors Ballard and Vaughn are taking a 'no prisoners' approach to the 2013 City-County budget - even if it means harming our City and the services it can provide.  Severely harming.  Its a game to them, not a responsibility to be taken seriously.

Bottom line, the Mayor is cutting $32 million from the City-County budget to spite the Democratic controlled Council - and all of us.

Here is their press release:
Mayor Ballard Announces Line-Item Veto of 2013 City-County Budget
City-County Council Majority Walks Away from Multiple Compromise Offers, Forcing Cuts
INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard today announced his line-item veto of the 2013 budget adopted by the City-County Council. 
"The budget passed by the Council majority leaves a $35 million deficit by the end of next year and next to nothing in the City's savings account to pay for it," said Mayor Ballard.  "We tried on multiple occasions to reach a compromise with the Council majority; however, they've decided to just spend money we don't have and not address the City's long-term financial needs.  I will not support that."
To address the estimated $35 million deficit for 2014, Mayor Ballard is vetoing these provisions from the 2013 budget:
  • Allocation of $31,767,652 in County Option Income Tax (COIT) to the County General Fund
    • This action will prompt the State Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) to reduce County General Fund spending to match available revenues.
    • The non-allocated funds will be held by the Marion County Treasurer until such a time as it is allocated by the City-County Council with Mayor Ballard's approval.
  • Character 3 budget of the City-County Council ($652,654)
    • This fund covers outside vendor contracts, which includes $100,000 the Council majority requested for re-redistricting.
  • Creation of the Police and Fire Recruiting Fund.
    • This fund does not contain any funding nor was any directed to it in the budget.
Mayor Ballard also is sending an "Official Communication from the Mayor" to the Council reiterating the City's position that the PILOT on the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) does not conform to state law and that he will not approve any allocation of funds from this illegal Council action.

These are the facts about the 2013 budget.

The Council declined to eliminate the homestead credit on property tax bills, resulting in a net $8.7 m reduction of revenues into the budget.  They showed those reductions in the appropriate places throughout the budget.  (click here to see the Council version of the budget ordinance that has now been ravaged by our vindictive administration).

The Council declined $20 m in spending by DPW, and removed $20 m from their revenues as well.

The Council budget is balanced.

The total spending for City-County government in the Mayor's introduced budget was $1,133,548,598 and total revenues (excluding property taxes) were $676,178,961.  The Council approved budget (which includes changes made by both the Controller and the Council) includes spending of $1,123,646,892 and revenues (excluding property taxes) of $673,038,219.  Both raise the same amount in property taxes ($351 m), with a small technical correction included in the Council version due to an amendment by the Controller.

The Council version spends $10 million less than the Mayor's version - completely offsetting the revenue the Mayor wanted from the elimination of the homestead credit.

The Mayor's elimination of the Council's entire character 3 budget is vindictive at best.  This cuts more than the $100,000 the Council added for litigation on the Council district map issue.  It cuts the items the Mayor asked for as well.  The Council CFO and Counsel are paid from this character.  Here is the description of character 3 expenses from the Mayor's budget book:
Other Services and Charges (Character 3)

This category includes expenditures for services other than personal
services required by the Consolidated City either to carry out its
assigned functions or to fulfill moral or legal obligations. Other
Services and Charges includes professional services, communication
and transportation, printing and advertising, insurance (excluding
group health, life and self-insurance), utility expenditures, contracted
repairs and maintenance, rentals, debt service expenditures for
principal and interest payments as well as long-term debt.
Games - hardball - vindictive - dereliction of duty

The $32 million reduction in revenues - forcing the DLGF to cut appropriations - is a dangerous move that puts the entire city-county services in jeopardy.  It is a slap in the face of all of Indy's residents.  It is cowardly to duck making the cuts himself, but leave that chore and its attendant responsibility to the DLGF instead.  COWARDLY.

The Mayors want you to believe it is the Council's fault.  It is not.

If you call 911 and don't get a response as quickly as you need in 2013 - make sure your next call is to the Mayor's office and tell them exactly how their low ethics impacted your life.

These cuts are draconian, cowardly, and devoid of any conscience.

No comments: