Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, said the timing just isn't right.
He pointed to the economy, what he called a $1 billion state budget deficit, unemployment at about 10 percent, the still-unclear structure for operating and funding mass transit, and a perception that transit is a socialized service.
"The suggestion that someone needs to pay more taxes right now isn't selling very well," Kenley said. "Now, there's obviously a need for some transit solutions in the Central Indiana area. That case can pretty well be made. There are some issues that make it a particularly difficult time to deal with that issue."
His stance is a significant blow for transit advocates.
But a week after Republicans swept through elections statewide and across the nation, with voters fueled by concern over the health-care overhaul and the struggling economy, Kenley said he doesn't want to offer a referendum, for fear that voters would think he's in favor of it being passed.
Kenley must really be thinking how crazy Ballard must be. This guy wants to put a tax increase referendum on the same ballot at which he is seeking re-election to another four year term as Indianapolis mayor after he campaigned against higher taxes in 2007 and rode the wave of the Tea Party tax protest movement that was born in Indianapolis in response to skyrocketing proeprty taxes? If someone has a clue what part of Ballard's 2007 platform he still supports, please let me know. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Espich echoed Kenley's sentiments. "I don't think any of my Republican caucus members in the House are interested in a new tax," he said. "It's the wrong time and the wrong atmosphere." Gov. Daniels' staff tells the Star this plan is not part of his legislative agenda either. It looks like you're all alone on this one, Greg. Had Enough Indy?