Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Will Suburban Counties Let Tax And Spend Ballard Raise Their Taxes Too

Mayor Greg Ballard ran on a promise not to raise taxes and to cut government spending. "There's a lot of fluff in that budget," he said. After being elected to office, Ballard started peddling backwards on his campaign pledges and hasn't stopped yet. His predecessor, Bart Peterson, suckered the collar counties, except for Morgan County, into raising taxes to support Indianapolis' latest sports palace, Lucas Oil Stadium. Now Mayor Ballard wants those same counties to support a regional alcohol tax to bail out his grossly mismanaged Capital Improvement Board. The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy picks up on a story Fox 59's Russ McQuaid broke over the weekend.

Ballard expects the alcohol tax to raise anywhere from $8 to $12 million. A lot of room for error there, eh? He also wants to raise the auto rental tax, hotel tax and admissions tax, as well as expand the professional sports development area to siphon off more state tax revenues for the CIB. And he's hip to allowing for full-blown casinos at the Shelbyville and Anderson horse race tracks as long as the CIB gets a share of the haul, not to mention some of the CIB's board members. Ballard's chief of staff, Paul Okeson, says Ballard has reached this consensus after talking to "council leaders and area business leaders" in closed door meetings. Have you had enough of Greg Lies?

By the way, Mr. Mayor, voters in Morgan and Johnson Counties convincingly voted against raising taxes for school construction projects in three separate school districts. Voters are in no mood for higher taxes, even if it benefits schools, let alone your beloved Capital Improvement Board. By the way, Mr. Mayor, when do you plan to disclose how many free tickets to Colts and Pacers games you and your family have accepted since you took office?

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