Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ballard Continues To Wage War On Working Poor To Bail Out CIB

"The days of country club politics are over in Indianapolis," candidate Greg Ballard declared when he upset Mayor Bart Peterson in the 2007 mayoral election. That was then. A free membership in a country club changed all of that for Mayor Ballard. His new found friends took him under their wings and taught him their ways. The friends who brought him to the dance were told his dance card was too full. Find somebody else to fight your cause he said. Nothing epitomizes that sentiment more than this little-noticed insertion Sen. Luke Kenley included in his amendment adopting the Ballard plan for bailing out the CIB:

The plan, offered by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, also included new oversight of the sports board and a provision that would impose new fees on Downtown parking garages. That provision, however, apparently was included by mistake.

The parking fees and other tax increases proposed by Ballard were inserted into House Bill 1604 on Tuesday in an effort to close a projected $47 million deficit facing the CIB next year.

Ballard did not mention the fees in outlining his plan to the public Monday. But Sen. Luke Kenley, who proposed the amendment that placed Ballard's plan into the bill, said he was asked by the mayor's office to include the parking garage proposal in the legislation.

Kenley, R-Noblesville, said the Ballard administration estimated the parking fees could generate $5 million per year.

Kenley, however, said it was unclear how much the city would raise fees to generate that much revenue. The legislation would not set the fees but give the City-County Council the power to institute them.

"It was on the list of items that came over from the mayor's office," Kenley said. "It's another option."

Robert Vane, Ballard's deputy chief of staff, said it shouldn't have been.

"We reviewed any and all reasonable ideas to support the CIB and the Downtown economy," he said. "This was under consideration, but it is not part of his proposal."

The proposals Ballard made public Monday included increasing the city's ticket, innkeepers, auto rental and alcohol taxes. The mayor also called on the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers to pony up $5 million each. He further proposed an expansion of a special Downtown taxing district to include the new JW Marriott hotel, which is under construction near Victory Field.

"We thought in deference to Mayor Ballard that we ought to tailor this (bill) as closely as we could to what his request was," Kenley said . . .

Andrew Duncan said he hopes they get rid of it.

Duncan, 29, already scrimps on his Downtown parking spot. He pays the bargain rate of $55 a month to park on the roof of a nine-story lot on Market Street. The building has no elevator, so he takes the stairs up and down.

A new fee, Duncan said, would be a hardship for all workers and shoppers who pay to park. "With the current state of the economy," he said, "this is just another way to nickel-and-dime you."

So do you believe Luke Kenley, or do you believe Mayor Ballard's press guy? The mayor's people originally floated the food and beverage tax idea to Kenley as part of his original proposal. The only reason the Mayor took it out and disowned Kenley's original plan is because the push back from the Republican City-County Councilors was so strong. You can bet that Mayor Ballard's administration gave this idea to Kenley just as Kenley claims.

Who pays this tax? The Simons? Hell no. Remember, we gave the Simons a city-owned parking garage for their employees to use exclusively for free. Will the big cheeses who work downtown pay the higher fees? Hell no. Their businesses pick up the tab for them. It's Susie Secretary, Rick Runner and Cal Copier working in the downtown mile square for barely above poverty level wages who will carry the load.

The silence of Marion County legislators and City-County Councilors as this bailout makes its way through the legislature is deafening. To you legislators and councilors who privately assure me you are on our side, I don't want to hear from you any more. If you are on our side, then speak up and tell the public. Put your words to action. If you aren't part of the solution in stopping this unwarranted bailout, then you are a part of the problem as far as I'm concerned.


jabberdoodle said...

Unfortunately for Indianapolis, both Kenley and Vane are probably telling the truth. This shows what a loose ship the Mayor is in 'command' of. Multiple people with the authority to speak for the Mayor.

As for the (perhaps yes, perhaps no) parking fee, don't forget those of us who park downtown so we can petition our government. So, if anyone parks in the old MSA lots to attend a public hearing on the billionaire bailout, this little (maybe) tax would affect your purse as well the next time you attended a public hearing.


Gary, you should be our city's official sh*t sniffer!


I know said...

There are a lot of sh*t sniffers out here! Getting any action after you report is the issue. Appointed or elected they are all afraid of the big money folks that make them cower in the corner.

When State Officials are quoted that they can't do anything about the cronyism and bailing out because the folks have more money than Indiana that they give sweetheart contracts to and bail outs it should tell all of us what the class system is in Indiana.

The people in the high places know what is in the closets. They just hope the federal law enforcement folks and the US Attorney whoever he or she may be next won't have a closet cleaning.

I would go to that RUMMAGE SALE!!!!!!