The politicians have a much different take on the matter. Here's what Mayor Peterson has to say:
The downgrade is "an automatic cost to taxpayers in the future," Peterson said. "I'm not trying to point blame, but the report points out how vital it is that we get legislation passed so that we can fix our finances."
Peterson wants authority to collect taxes other than ones on property. The city is seeking legislative authority to raise new taxes -- other than from property taxes -- to generate $85 million a year to plug a pension-related budget deficit and pay for new crime-fighting initiatives.
If you look closely at what Mayor Peterson says, you'll realize nothing he proposes addresses the fundamental problem of over-spending by he and the city-county council the last several years. He wants new tax increases to pay old debt obligations and fund new spending initiatives. But unless you fail to address the city's spending habits in the past, particularly the overly generous public subsidies it gives to businesses and sports franchises, the city is still going to be faced with the same problem.
Peterson isn't alone. House Republican Brian Bosma doesn't get it either. Bosma told the Star the bond rating is the latest evidence that the legislature needs "to take decisive action on property-tax relief and property-tax reform." "Comprehensive reform, he said, should include not only tax relief, but also broader taxing flexibility for local governments -- as long as local governments are held accountable."
"Held accountable?" Isn't that how we found ourselves in this problem? And aren't Marion County taxpayers the ones who are ultimately going to be held accountable by having to cough up more of their hard-earned taxpayers to fund city government? It seems to me Mayor Peterson and others are blaming us for the problems he and other city leaders, past and present, created.