Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fighting Back

Faced with the fact that I have no other choice than to cough up an additional $1,600 this year to pay for the tax and spend policies of Mayor Bart Peterson and his corrupt Democratic pals running the city-county government, it's time to alter my own spending. The first item on the chopping block is my AT&T land phone. I kept it around an extra year because the telecommunications industry made all sorts of promises about all the extra benefits and saving we consumers in Indiana would receive after the legislature enacted telecommunications deregulation legislation last year. It's more than a year later and AT&T has offered customers in my area nothing. I have had to squabble from time to time with AT&T long distance, which for some reason keeps trying to fraudulently bill me for long distance calls I never made. I checked with the 3-in-1 plan offered by Bright House, which is no bargain at all. It would actually wind up costing more than the separate services I receive from it and AT&T. Go figure. So getting rid of the land line will save about $456 a year. That still leaves $1,144 in savings I'll need to eke out.

For me, it's pretty easy to find a place to eke out that additional savings. As someone who eats out a lot, I could easily cut back on the amount of dining out I do and produce the additional savings of $25 a week I will need. The better part in cutting back on eating out is that I will also be paying less in the food and beverage tax Mayor Peterson hiked to build Jim Irsay's $700 million stadium. Although that tax is currently generating more than expected, all that extra money is needed to pay for all the cost overruns, which are at least $50 million to date. Further, Mayor Peterson has no plan for how we're going to pay to maintain the new stadium when it opens next year because his good pal, Fred "Sell Out" Glass negotiated a stadium deal which requires Irsay to pay us no rent or maintenance, and he gets to keep all the concession revenues and proceeds from the stadium-naming rights. So if everyone does like me and cuts back on eating out, we'll create a major funding crisis for the new stadium. Perhaps then the Mayor and Glass will reopen the lease negotiations with Irsay and explain to him that "we tried our best to give it all to you for free, but now we're going to have to ask you to kick in a few of your own pennies."

Feel free to share your ideas for cutting back on your spending to finance Mayor Peterson's tax and spend policies. Perhaps we should encourage as many business owners as possible to close up shop and move to neighboring counties, or at least halt any future hiring of new employees. Let's explain to businesses thinking about relocating here to reconsider their decision. Unless you want to take a ride on the Titanic, Indianapolis is not the place to start a new business. I think the best, long-term solution is one that will force the city to its knees financially, leading to a temporary state take-over--a receivership of sorts for a bankrupt business. Only then will we be able to bring about a complete structural overhaul of this broken government.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gary,
Unless your property tax bill is the only one in Marion County where 100% of your taxes went to fund City-County Government, only 30/32% of your tax bill goes to, in your words "Mayor Peterson and his corrupt Democratic pals". But since you raise the question, how did the "corrupt democrats" raise your taxes? Gary, you live downtown. That's tax district 101. The tax rate for Center Township government went DOWN from .0523 cents per $100 assessed valuation to .0522 cents. The County's tax rate went from .3555 to .3711 (an increase of a little mroe than TWO CENTS per $100. And the city rate went from .9425 to .9663, up TWO AND HALF CENTS. The "corrupt" politicians didn't raise your taxes. You chose to live in a hot area of town, which is increasing in value, partly out of demand, partly out of speculation. That's the capitalistic system. That system of rising assessments, not tax and spend politicians, caused your taxes to rise.

Advance Indiana said...

Anon 4:59, no obfuscating here. My tax assessment only went up 25%. My tax bill rose 67%. That's because businesses have been under-assessed (county & most township assessors are Ds), too many tax abatements have been extended and the vast majority of taxing units chose to increase spending to take advantage of the increased assessments. The excessive use of tax abatements and TIFs by this administration has shifted the tax burden to residential homeowners. The promised savings from police and sheriff's department consolidation produced no savings. The Democrats control the library board which recklessly blew over $50 million on an unneeded central library project. The mayor has done absolutely nothing to put the brakes on the increased tax levies being imposed by the other taxing units. IPS is permitted to borrow and tax as much as it pleases for school construction costs. When I lived in Illinois, a school district couldn't levy taxes to pay for school construction expenses without putting the issue to voters at a referendum. When you preside over a consolidated city-county government as Mayor Peterson does, you must accept greater responsibility for all that is happening within government.

Wilson46201 said...

Don't forget Gary, the biggest item in your property tax bill goes to Indianapolis Public Schools which is NOT run by, in your words, "Mayor Peterson and his corrupt Democratic pals". IPS operates under state law, not city ordinances.

There's also that hugumongous $45 million a year paid to the State (run by Your Man Mitch and his oh-so-honest Republican pals) for County Welfare costs.

Those abatements and TIFS you decry are issued using the guidelines established the Republican-controlled Metropolitan Development Commission last changed back in 1999. The businessmen investing in Indianapolis using abatements are simply availing themselves of GOP-mandated procedures...

The Library over-runs were incurred under the old Board dominated then by Republicans. Go back and read the Star expose. Gruesome! Democrats are having to clean up that unholy mess. The GOP County Commissioners had appointed some very squirrelly and corrupt members.

Advance Indiana said...

And Bart chose Louis Mahern to run the Board who boasted of using the position to help out Democratic friends. The construction project took place under a Board appointed and run by Peterson with a few left-overs from the Rs like Sarah Tayor. Greg Hahn's law firm has billed the taxpayers millions for some questionable legal services. Bart hand-picked that law firm.

Wilson46201 said...

Indianapolis is best described as Semi-Gov. The schools were in no way ever consolidated. It would have been political suicide to Lugar to consolidate all school systems in the county. Peterson (like Lugar, Hudnut and Goldsmith) has no say whatsoever over county schools yet this is where the biggest chunk of property taxes go. Illinois or Mississippi might be different but this is Indiana!

Anonymous said...

Gary,
Don't forget the cost overruns at the City Market, %500,000.00, and the airport ?? millions.

Who is benefiting from all of these overruns?

Anonymous said...

The "TAX & SPEND" policies of Mayor Bart Peterson and his corrupt Democratic Ghetto Mafia running the city-county and township (political crony)government have officially destroyed this city, taking our hard-earned tax money and giving it to millionaires & billionaires.

Why do the Colts get a penny of tax money when a working family cannot attend their games in the stadium built with tax money?

The Rich are getting richer with our hard-earned tax dollars, and the Ghetto Mafia gets greased!

Why does an uneducated Center Twp Trustee get 3 GIANT downtown office building with more space than he needs? Why does a Center Twp Trustee make $90K when he doesn't hold a high school diploma? Why does a Center Twp Trustee have a TAVERN inside a taxpayer owned building? Gee, The Center Twp Trustee is the Ghetto Mafia!

Why does a Center Twp Constable, who is supposed to provide civil process (evictions are about it) living in a mansion????

The Julia Carson Government Center has a BAR inside? Why am I being taxed for bars??????????

My taxes went up $250 and I cannot afford that kind of increase per assessment!

TAX & SPEND DEMOCRATS are morally bankrupt, corrupt and, not only need voted out, but need to be indicted for corruption!

Wilson46201 said...

The Airport is sustained by user fees, not property taxes.

Try desperately grabbing another straw!

Anonymous said...

Few tax abatements are granted in Center Township. Most are in Pike (Park 100) and Decatur (airport area). Rest are spread out. So that's not really a factor.

Marion County is much more judicious in granting tax abatements than other Indiana counties, which usually will grant a full 10-year abatement for new projects. Your assertion is way off base re Marion County. Yes, MC gives more abatements, because it has a lot more businesses than most places. Abatements are a necessary evil and if they weren't granted, Indiana/Indy would start losing businesses completely to other states.

The stadium/convention center deal did not raise property taxes, and the project will add significantly to the overall property tax base/increase AV in Center Township.

The primary problem lies at the state level, as Matt Tully pointed out. Capping the Property Tax Replacement Credits, seeing the county's responsibility for state office of family & children costs rise dramatically, making counties pay 1/2 juvenile detention costs (penalizes Marion Co. the most), etc.

There is little accountability for spending OUTSIDE the city and county - eg the state, townships, schools, etc. And, businesses were not reassessed in Center Township (thanks, assessor). And the assessments countywide are not consistent and by most measures, poorly done.

IndyWorks has failed due to politics (mostly on the R side) for several sessions in a row. Debate the savings number, but there would be substantial savings in the millions. You can't blame the Mayor for proposing local efficiency, he can't unilaterally pass it.

The library board most certainly was not controlled by Peterson.

The Republicans like Bosma did not want a downtown casino to pay for the stadium/conv. center or even public safety.

Setting the property tax debacle at the doorstep of Mayor Peterson is inappropriate.

Wilson46201 said...

Trustee Carl Drummer is a proud graduate of North Central High School but anonymous nobodies love to string together lies, slanders, obfuscations and distortions. The same junk was thrown around last year during elections but the voters just ignored such tripe and re-elected Drummer better than 3-to-1. Awfully desperate mudslinging still going on! Talk about "Sorest Losers of 2006" ...

Wilson46201 said...

Until this year, only the Center, Pike and Washington Assessors were Democrats - the other six were Republican. The County Assessor was GOP. It seems ALL townships of whatever political denomination did NOT adjust business assessments. I really dont know why yet - I suspect the "radical" change of assessment methodology of residential property diverted organizational attention off the business sector but that's just my idle speculating...

Advance Indiana said...

anon 5:49 said, "Few tax abatements are granted in Center Township. Most are in Pike (Park 100) and Decatur (airport area). Rest are spread out. So that's not really a factor." Are you kidding? Every project in the mile square has gotten tax abatement. Even Lilly has some property in Center Township which was awarded tax abatements a few years ago, as well as Wellpoint. Hell, even Jackie Nytes' husband managed to get a property tax abatement for his printing business. Are we going to give Kinkos a tax abatement as well? You add that to the fact that Center Township has more tax-exempt property than any other township in the state and it makes for a real heavy burden for the few but growing number of residential property taxpayers there are in Center Township.

Wilson46201 said...

Massive tax-exempt properties have always been a blessing and a curse in Center Township taxation. No federal, state or local government entity pays taxes -- no university, no hospital, no stadium, no museum, no park pays taxes. Yet it is precisely the businesses and employment around these entities that sustain the center city and its inhabitants.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed how little Taking Down Words and the other Democrat blogs are talking about the property tax debacle?

Wilson46201 said...

What you call a debacle, I might call a kerfuffle -- or vice-versa ...

Wilson46201 said...

Ooops! I almost forgot another major tax-exempt group: churches! We've got zillions of them in Center including a new Mormon temple on East 10th...

Charities like the Red Cross and the Boy Scouts are also tax-exempt. (As is the archly Republican Columbia Club.)

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone noticed how little Taking Down Words and the other Democrat blogs are talking about the property tax debacle?"


The State Democrat party has shut her up.
Now tell me again, it's not a Democrat controlled blog.
Yea right.

Anonymous said...

Gary, tas abatements are not "hand out by the assessors. Look to the auditor's office.

Wilson46201 said...

Actually, all tax abatements are issued solely by the Metropolitan Development Commission under guidelines set by the then-GOP-controlled Commission back in 1999. The Auditor merely receives the approved abatements from the MDC and applies it to the parcel before taxation...

Wilson46201 said...

By the way, if you want to keep your landline, take off the all non-essential frills like caller ID etc. I pay $23.79/month (unlimited local calling) for a generic basic analog line for fax, modem and emergency usage. I use my cellie for routine chitchat...

Anonymous said...

Four years ago 33% of the commercial property in the Mile Square were receiving tax abatements. Many properties downtown are not paying taxes at all like the NCAA headquarters, Zoo, Victory Field etc.

I would place that number closer to around 40% today.
And FYI, abatements don't always go away, they can and have been extended.

The last time I looked I do believe the Mayor appoints who sits on the Metro Dev Comm.
He also appoints the shadow government known as the Capital Improvement Board. Did I forget to mention the Bond Bank?

Abatements have been the ruin of many cities.

Advance Indiana said...

anon 7:00, I never said tax abatements were handed out by the assessor. The assessors are to blame, however, for the shitty job they did at assessing property. I've been studying different residential properties in the downtown area. Townhomes in Lockerbie selling for as much money as the condos in my building are all assessed about 25% less. A friend of mine owns an older renovated home on 11th Street. It was appraised at over $400,000 last year. The assessor placed its value at $149,000. Townhouses in Fire House Square are assessed higher than restored older homes on the Old Northside worth twice as much. The assessments are atrocious.

Wilson46201 said...

FYI: yes, the Mayor appoints the members of the Capital Improvements Board and the Bond Bank. The Metropolitan Development Commission has 4 members appointed by the Mayor, 3 by the Council and 2 by the County Commissioners (Assessor, Auditor & Treasurer). Until 2004, the GOP controlled the Council and the County Commissioners so the M.D.C. was Republican-controlled. They issue the tax abatements. ALL tax abatements issued before 2004 were approved by your friendly neighborhood Republicans ... if you want to play partisan blame-games, now you know!

Anonymous said...

World Class City?

More appropriately: Tax & Spend City!

The Ghetto Mafia Mayor is making deals with the rich!

The Julia Carson Government Center has a TAVERN...in a building paid for by TAXPAYERS!

The Center Twp Trustee has over 100 PATRONAGE, make-work, do-nothing jobs on the TAXPAYERS payroll! He also has a "Wellness Center" not permitted by state law, 3 GIANT office buildings...and a $90,000 salary for himself (although he is uneducated).

Tony Duncan, Center Twp Constable, has a mansion...anyone seen the pics? Why does an IGNORANT civil process server make so much money from TAXPAYERS?

Our property TAX bills went up in an OBSCENE manner under the DEMOCRAT Ghetto Mafia flag!

TAX & SPEND is truly the motto of the DEMOCRAT Ghetto Mafia!

It is obscene!

TAX & SPEND Democrats are making our city corrupt, giving tax money to millionaires & billionaires!

ELIMINATE CORRUPT TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT! That is why we have the GIANT increase in our taxes.

Wilson46201 said...

Same old cut-and-paste hysterical rant used earlier in this thread from that discredited anonymous nobody...

The voters rejected firmly her bullshit by re-electing Drummer better than 3-to-1. Get over it, child!

Jay said...

We feel for you, Gary. We're trying to only eat and shop at locally owned establishments, and not so often at that.

I know of several local business owners who are closing up shop this year because they can't afford their rising rents and taxes, and their customers are losing their spending money. Yield House, for one, in the Fashion Mall area is closing for tax and rent reasons after 22 years in business.

Small business in this city is suffering at the altar of corporate welfare and greed.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to comment on the property taxes. There's enough disinformation and half-truth already posted, to make me dizzy.

But I will tell you that I, too, have given AT&T the boot. And just last week they started stringing new lines underground in my neighborhood. About 15 years overdue.

Since 1990, every time it rains, or as my neighbor says, every time a dog pisses on a rock, the phones get foggy and difficult.

Calls to AT&T are an exercise in futility. A recently-retired AT&T (nee: Indiana Bell) employee told me the lines in my neighborhood are 1959 original cooper lines, built for party lines. They've been pushing new services and charging us for it, but not delivering it.

My customer service Triple Play: Comcast, AT&T and IPL. Someone needs to give them all a Nordstrom lesson in true customer service.

Off with their heads. How I long for Indiana Bell...

Another savings suggestion: daily Indy Star. It saves about $200 a year. I get Sunday only, and read the rest online. Lazy ass reporters and lousy editing aren't worth the cost.

Anonymous said...

...and another thing: Yield House is hardly a local small business.

...and Carl Drummer is wasting tax dollars right and left, regardless of his high school pedigree. Nice Corvette tho, Carl. Boys and their toys.

Jen said...

I'm pretty sure I've posted three property tax-related threads in the last week. Perhaps the trolls should visit more frequently and pay attention to the details.

The tax bill on our new house went up 300 percent. I'm just as upset about this as the next taxpayer.

The system itself needs to be blown up and reworked from the inside out. Patching it here and there won't solve the overall problems.

ProCynic said...

This tax situation is Kafkaesque. All we know is that what we pay for our property taxes have gone up. No one seems to really know why. Assessments, taxing bodies, etc. It's inexcusable that it's gotten to this point.

Most states -- notably Ohio, Pennsylvania and California -- require that new taxes, tax increases or bonding measures go through a public referendum. In those jurisdictions, when school boards or city councils want to raise taxes, they have to place it on the ballot for the public to vote on it in the next election. Then, the proponents of the tax would have to make their case.

In Indiana, thogh, there is no such requirement. The library board, which is unelected, can actually raise our taxes with us havng no say in it. In Fort Wayne, a $500 million bond issue passes by the school board was only defeated by dueling petitions for crying out loud. The stadium initiative was passed in Indianapolis and the doughnut coujnties even though polls indicated the vast majority of the population opposed it.

This is intolerable for a representative democracy. We need to be able to vote on this stuff in Indiana like they do in most states. No taxation without representation.

Happy July 4th.

Anonymous said...

Tax & Spend Democrats are forcing the working class to LEAVE Indy...let the Ghetto Mafia tax the indigent to pay for their leftist programs!

indyernie said...

This one of the few times I agree with Jen. Kind of spookey. The system needs revamped. However Jen doesn't take it far enough.
We also need to cut spending. Office holders spend surplus moneys unnecessarily just to keep their budgets at an artificially inflated level.
This is a common practice in school districts and in city government. The CCC is charged with monitoring but do a poor job.
Cut non-essential services 5 to 10%. Transfer that money to law enforcement, and then talk about a tax increase if it’s needed.
Wilson and others will say it can't happen ...but anything can happen if pushed hard enough.

Anonymous said...

One can disregard anything Wilson46201 writes in his/her many posts on blogs. Wilson never met a tax increase he didn't like. Wilson swould support anything Bart does. Wilson adds nothing new, just defends the outright theft of tax money for perilous wasteful ventures like the new Colts stadium.

Hoosiers are idiots and Wilson46201 is their online leader.

Anonymous said...

Ignore Wilson.

Wilson46201 said...

Ignore Anonymous.

Becky said...

Gary and Wilson you're are both wrong. Not ALL the assessors did a "shitty job". Franklin Twp did trend commercial/industrial properties. If there are assessors not doing their job, please don't lump me in with them!

Anonymous said...

"You chose to live in a hot area of town, which is increasing in value, partly out of demand, partly out of speculation. That's the capitalistic system. That system of rising assessments, not tax and spend politicians, caused your taxes to rise."

No offense, but Gary lives within a mile of "the swamp." I am sure folks that live in Woodruff Place get screwed even worse. You live like a mile from 10th-Rural where the VP there (maybe it has closed) got robbed weekly, yet your home in this ghetto is $350K. This is nothing more than taxing the rich to bailout all the poor fools who live in the more run down areas. You know why you don't see homes in Lockerbie burning down like you do in the hood? Simple, it is called intelligence. Folks like Gary who can afford these $250K+ homes don't overload their outlets, they don't use kerosene heaters and place them right by light cotton curtins, etc. etc.. Folks like Gary are being used to fund services for the idiots who don't have the money to pay their 'fair share.' Gary is also needed to pay his 'fair share' for the taxpayer funded Blockbuster known as the library.

The solution is simple: A 1%, not 2%, cap on property taxes. Add with that a _true_ market value based on sales disclosure data. Since my county is on-line, I have went through and gotten all the info I need to fight my assessment if I think it is too high. I paid $128K for this home and added a $2,000 paved driveway. Basically, if my value is said to be over $130K, we are going to have a fight. Hopefully we can settle on the $130K figure. What I also noticed was that people who updated their 1960s home were nailed due to building permits. Those who do their own work don't get updates noted on their property. As such, I may redo my own bathroom and kitchen. I will not be adding any additional water outlets, so it really shouldn't matter.

Anonymous said...

9:20 wants a plebicite...like California, where their elections are clogged with maybe 15-20 ballot initiatives. It takes a master's degree to wade through their ballot.

Yeah, let's figure out more thing to keep people AWAY from the polling place. (No jokes about the Marion County May primary, please)

Jen's right. The entire system needs imploded.

Starting with township-level government. It's wasteful, and the human odds of consistency between jurisdictions, are voided.
Logic should tell us that.

Oh yeah, one other thing--I manage two commercial properties in Franklin Township. If the previous poster thinks they did a good job of trending and assessinbg, comparied to other townships in this area, well...there's this bridge in New York...

No township assessors in this county practice consistency regarding commercial assessments. None. Zero. If they want to delude themselves--and you--into thinking that they do, it's one more nail in the coffin of township government.

It's a matter of time. It will crumble. Because it costs money, it's duplicitous, and it's not efficient or consistent.

The sooner the better.

Kinko's, get ready for the Akers and Drummer resumes...

Anonymous said...

One other note.

How much disposable income has the property tax and soon to be income tax increase will be taken out of the Marion County consumer economy ? If on average a family household pays $1,000 more in property taxes and $1,000 more in combined income tax increase that is $2,000 per household NOT being spent in the economy. Multiply that by 100,000 ? 200,000 ? and it comes out to a pretty big chunk of change.

Pike Voter

Don't Be a Liar said...

Alright, after too many years of right-wing bibliots saying the MAyor wanted a tax increase for the stadium, I've decided that EVERY time that you lie to your readers Gary, I'm going to correct it.

Peterson has a funding plan with NO tax increase.

Daniels had (and implemented) a plan with MULTIPLE tax increases.

Anonymous said...

AI,

Most projects in Center do not receive abatement, and those that do have a much lower tax impact than those in Pike etc which are more manufacturing based (higher capital investment). Lilly is an exception, but don't tell me you don't support helping our strongest employer grow by thousands of jobs and build new buildings here rather than VA, NC or Ireland. Most projects in Center, especially downtown, are office deals. They get local abatement because without that, they can't get the far more lucrative state incentives.

WellPoint did not receive a tax abatement. Their new facility will be at the airport. They did receive a rent break. But, since we stole the project from Ohio, along with 1,200 jobs, would you rather those jobs be in OH?

Local tax abatements follow a policy adopted by the MDC in 2001. High wages are one component. So if there is a gripe about a particular abatement, let's look at the deal and talk about it. But unless you want Indy/Indiana to start losing jobs/deals, there have to be state/local incentives for job creation projects.

You leave out any discussion of state incentives, which add up to far more dollars, by the way.

Becky said...

anonymous 8:21
Just because you manage 2 propertys I hardly think that qualifies you as an expert in the assessing field. If you don't agree with the assessment...appeal.

Anonymous said...

Becky, I said two properties in Franklin Twp...

About 85 overall, totaling over 2 million square feet, in three states, 16 different Indiana townships, albeit concentrated in Marion County.

For about 20 years. At times, those totals were far larger. I've seen my share of property tax bills, assessment worksheets, and dealt with my share of township assessors. I've yet to meet one--one--that knew exactly how to properly do his/her job. Or that agreed with his/her fellow township assessors.

This mess of a system demands change. We voters can demand that one elected person oversee it. I gaurantee it will get more uniform. It may not lower your tax bill, although I think it will.

But it will absolutely make the system more uniform.

When I prepare appeals now, I have to prepare multiple strategies for multiple assessors and assessment worksheets. It's a nightmare.

What else ya got?

Wilson46201 said...

Democracy is messy and inefficient, isn't it? Mussolini at least got the trains to run on time...

ProCynic said...

This isn't democracy. We didn't vote for this tax increase.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure how bringing the city "to its knees" will make your taxes go down. If the city takes in less, it will simply push tax rates higher and higher to make up for the deficit.

Also, the only cities I know of which have gone into receivership are undesirable places like East St. Louis,IL--a bunch of crack houses, casinos, and burnt out lots and nothing else. Why would you want to turn Indianapolis into a place like that? Furthermore, do you think anyone will actually stay in Indianapolis if it becomes like East St. Louis? Will you stay? No, you and everyone except the ultra-poor would pick up and move--and your idea to effect "structural" government change would collapse.

Finally, the sales tax for the stadium has no bearing on the property tax increase. I don't agree with money going to the Colts, but the property tax increases are being used to fund services which are not funded by the special REGIONAL sales tax which was created for the Colts stadium and Convention Center expansion. Spend less if you like, it won't mean you will pay a penny less of property taxes or income taxes.

If you are upset about property taxes, how about focusing less on Bart Peterson, etc. and more on the SCHOOLS which take in about HALF of all property taxes. Most people forget the local schools are run by ELECTED school boards. Maybe, you could simply try voting in school board elections and attending school board meetings rather than chasing businesses out of town--so YOU and the remaining property owners end up paying more taxes. Just a thought....