Monday, December 14, 2009

Council Republicans Deliver Middle Finger Again To Taxpayers

The antipathy Republican members of the City-County Council have towards ordinary taxpayers has reared its ugly head again. The Metropolitan Development Committee, chaired by Councilor Kent Smith (R), defeated a proposal that would have required all tax abatements to be approved by the City-County Council in addition to the Metropolitan Development Commission along party lines. Smith was an original sponsor of the proposal with Councilor Brian Mahern but withdrew his support during the hearing after being told by the powers-that-be that there would be no meddling in the good 'ole boy system of passing out tax abatements to politically-connected business owners. During his 2007 campaign, Smith attended all of the property tax protest rallies and pledged his support for requiring council approval of tax abatements. Mayoral candidate Greg Ballard similarly supported this concept, but his economic development chief, Nick Weber, led the testimony in opposition to the proposal. The Marion County Alliance of Neighorhood Associations led the fight for passage of the proposal.

A representative of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce testified that passage of the ordinance would put Indianapolis at an economic development disadvantage because it would require an additional layer for businesses to traverse in obtaining a benefit that does not occur in surrounding counties. Councilor Brian Mahern pointed out that the Chamber's assertion was blatantly untrue. In the surrounding counties, a tax abatement is first approved by a county plan commission and then must obtain the approval of the elected commissioners. The Chamber's representative responded that it was much more difficult for businesses to worry about the action of 29 council members rather than four commissioners. In Marion County, unlike other counties, business owners must only obtain approval of the unelected MDC to get a tax abatement.

I guess it's no surprise then that the Republican caucus voted tonight to oust Councilor Robert Cockrum as the Council's president and replace him with Barnes & Thornburg lobbyist Ryan Vaughn. Only the ethically-challenged and self-dealing Vaughn could make former CCC President Monroe Gray look like a boy scout. Professional campaign button collector Michael McQuillen has been elected as the new majority leader, while Marilyn Pfister will succeed Vaughn as the council's vice-president. It's business as usual. Is there any campaign promise my fellow Republicans in this city government won't break? Once again, the grassroots supporters who elected them are left shaking our heads at just how much we were lied to and deceived by Ballard and his Republican colleagues.


Citizen Kane said...

Of course, the proponents and opponents of this proposal to urge the legislature to provide the Council more decision-making power never questioned the validity of tax abatement, tax increment financing or the most perverse thing of all, granting tax abatement in tax increment financing districts. It is always assumed that it is a meaningful "tool" of economic development, when it is no more than a method of legal theft of taxpayer money.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Well, this pretty much proves that our local Republicans now drink the same kool-aide that the Democrats drink.
You can't tell them apart without a program.
I wonder what ever happened to Republican ideals.

M Theory said...

Yep, the Republicans proved to us that they are not one bit better than the Democrats. In fact I think they are worse than the Democrats. At least with the democrats you know what you are getting.

The republicans have time and time again told us one thing and done another.Republican party politics come before the people.

Is there anyone on the council other than Ed Coleman and Christine Scales that have a moral compass?