Friday, December 21, 2012

You Can't Fix Wilfull Ignorance and Greed

Its very unfortunate for Indianapolis that Matt Tully has an opinion column in which he can toss about misinformation and press for more of your tax dollars to be spent on his neighborhood's pet projects.  And its very unfortunate that he does that, not by providing well reasoned arguments, rather, by maligning one of the few elected officials still willing to stand up for sensible government that will not break our economy and who presses for sustainable funding for police, fire, libraries, schools, and other basic services that benefit all of us, rather than the few.

Tully is in love with the government giving your tax money to private developers and campaign donors, and he really evidences no concern with what that does to the public's ability to finance basic services.  He stood in favor of the Mass Ave TIF, that robs known tax proceeds to pour money into an area already building and thriving.  He stands in favor of the well to do in his own neighborhood and those neighborhoods nearby, to decide how THEIR tax dollars will be spent, while all the rest of us chumps can chip in to make sure his neighbors get police and firefighters to their door whenever they dial 911.  He cries a good game about the schools - but lets see where he sends his child.

But, the lowest point is reached when he maligns Councillor Brian Mahern, one of the last, if not the last, elected official willing to speak publicly of our need to be cautious about the use of TIFs, and who will acknowledge aloud that the more tax revenues we corral inside TIFs, the less money we have to fund basic services.

The pressure to frivolously spend, to ignore that each decision has pros and cons to be weighed, to follow the lead of those whose only goal is to feather their own nests, that pressure is great and has caused most who truly understand the impact of TIFs and corporate welfare to stand down and only whisper the truth among known allies rather than spread that truth further.

The sky is blue.  Water is wet.  And, like it or not, TIFs have consequences.

I had thought Tully was a reasoning person.  But, he has proven me wrong.  He just wants you to foot the bill for his basic services so he and his well off pals can give thier's to developers to make their neighborhoods more fun.

The old myths - that tax money before a TIF is established continues to flow to the schools and police, and that the bankrolled developments will spur free market development - continue to be pressed by those like Tully.  Meanwhile, the Mass Ave TIF and the Mid-North TIF stand on its head, the traditional use of TIFs to help struggling neighborhoods pull out of great need.  Now TIFs are to aid the well to do and to boost areas that are already seeing the free market work.

In the age of tax caps, unexamined TIFs and their unfettered use, will grind on our City's economy.  Then folks like Tully will leave because there are even fewer police and firefighters to cover our whole county, fewer tax dollars reaching the library and the schools and IndyGo.  And, instead of TIFs making his neighborhood more enticing to executives, it will make everyone more fearful of living anywhere in Marion County - fearful of crime as well as fearful of providing a very weak start in life for their children.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Tully is either dumb or intellectually dishonest. Is it possible to be both?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Tully is shielding himself from any facts that would call his desired conclusions into question; a human foible to be sure. But,one which we can ill afford when we have an economic issue like TIFs that require actual thought and analysis.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Just think, Pat, if you had been successful in getting elected to the council the vitriolic comments Tully would have for you. I continue to believe that I'm living in a parallel universe. Once upon a time, someone in Tully's position would be entirely on the same page with those of us who believe in government being responsible and transparent in its actions. It is simply mind blowing for Tully to unleash one of the most vicious attacks he's ever unleashed on a public official on one of the few who is trying to do right by the people. When Tully begins aping the musings of Abdul, you know just how far the Star has sunk as a publication of respectability. It's unfortunate because there are still a handful of decent, hardworking reporters left at the Star who suffer every time Tully opens up his mouth and gives the newspaper's subscribers another reason to drop their subscription.

Had Enough Indy? said...

All I can say, Gary, is you are right. Especially your comment about this being the most vicious attack Tully has mounted.

I would hope my integrity is solid enough to withstand the onslaught that the powers that be are hurling on the heads of the Councillors and other elected officials. I understand that the goings-on are not pretty.

Anonymous said...

Matt Tully does not have a basic understanding of government finance and appears to have no interest in learning.

He had written before about attending a TIF meeting and basically falling asleep because of the detail involved.

He writings are about as deep and logical as a 12 year old girl rumor mill. Extremely shallow but highly opinionated.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Funny ! Well said, too.

Anonymous said...

What's shallow and illogical about noting that Mahern has been running for Mayor ever since the last election, or that everything he says or does is strained through that filter?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Mahern has been standing up for the public at large over the special interests. He has in fact, been on the right side of the issues facing us. Whether he is running for Mayor in three years is totally beside the point that he is absolutely right about TIFs, the CIB PILOT, and other things.

Tully's characterization falls out from his unwillingness to deal with the realities and complexities of our City's finances.

You don't have to like Mahern or anyone else. But, for the sake of good government, you really should be listening to what he has to say. He's right.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Pat, Matt has become a very vicious man. I have my disagreements with him, but I would think he would still be polite enough to speak when I see him. I saw him in Starbucks and tried to speak to him a few weeks ago. He gave me a very dirty look, growled something and looked away. He is a much different man than he was a few years ago. I think that he believes that life will be much easier for him if he simply writes what the powerful insiders expect him to write. There is a concerted effort by certain insiders and people in the media to break Brian down mentally. Shabazz is the appointed ring master in the media to head up that effort. I thought Matt was above that sort of thing, but I greatly underestimated him. They believe they've found a human weakness and they want to push Brian over the edge--their own form of blood sport if you will. I hope Matt is getting some financial reward from the downtown mafia for carrying their dirty water for them because he's doing nothing for his professional integrity as a journalist.

Citizen Kane said...

That article made my blood boil. Whether Mahern wants to run for Mayor or not is irrelevant. When he is nailing the issues - that is all that matters. Frankly, being rebuked by either one of this bankrupt parties - to me - would be a badge of honor.

And as usual, the corrupt party leaders don't want anyone pointing out their bankrupt policies.

Tax abatement, TIFS and all of the other so-called economic development tools are a fiction. It just amazes me that anyone believes that we would be any worse off if none of these so-called tools existed.

We wouldn't as all of that debt created would mean either lower taxes (more money to save, invest and spend or better services because more tax revenue is available (even with lower taxes) to fund adequate services, thereby increasing the quality of life and creating an environment for productive people to thrive.

Anonymous said...

OK, if you do listen to what Mahern says, you find out that he absolutely loves the Midtown TIF, except for the Parking Garage, and, you find out that an ordinance he drafted providing the council with non-binding guidelines for reviewing TIF's (his words) became meaningless (his words) when it was amended to specify that the included guidelines were non-binding.

Had Enough Indy? said...

You cherry pick and exaggerate Mahern's positions.

Flogger said...

I would say our last good columnists were Harrison Ullman and Dick Cady. Ullman in particular was fearless. Ullman hit the nail on the head referring to the Bayh-Smith cabal in government.

I found it hard to believe Tully's column on a basketball game was even printed.

Whenever I read about some company relocating to Indiana or expanding you can almost bet there will be some "tax reduction incentive" or training funds doled out.

It seems like gross discrimination that some business can receive direct and indirect subsidies while others are expected to pay the freight. However, I am sure the "law" allows this to be perfectly legal.

You might think the Corporate Welfare-Crony Capitalism schemes would be ripe for investigation to determine how all this wraps together in a nice package.

The Star in particular their on-line edition speaks to their priorities. Sports, Sports, and more Sports.

Anonymous said...

Mahern would be much more believable if he didn't have his own personal agenda to be Mayor. At this point, since his own caucus wouldn't reelect him to the VP position, I wonder how he thinks he can get through what should be a crowded Democratic Primary for Mayor. Good news is that as long as Ed Treacy is Chair, Mahern is in.