Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ballard's RTA Dead On Arrival

Mayor Greg Ballard's grandiose plans for a new regional transportation authority with an ambitious $10 billion tax and spending program appears dead on arrival at the State House. The Lord of Senate Finance, Sen. Luke Kenley, doesn't think it's such a great idea. The Star's Chris Sikich reports:

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?


Covenant60 said...

Transit is an economic development issue. It is, or should be, a bipartisan issue.

It's too bad that the parochial nature of Indiana politics will likely doom this proposal before it gets off the ground. Too bad because once again, Indiana will miss an opportunity to catch up with and even leap ahead of other states and localities in the area of forward thinking economic development.

It is also too bad that in these times, when the federal government has basically made it clear that it is taking every dollar it can from taxpayera by way of taxes and increased costs of health care and the impending inflation crisis, localities are understandably skeptical of more taxes. Even when those taxes would be warranted and would to specific understandable and visible purposes.... ie mass transit.

Basically a long way of saying that since the Feds are taking so much taxes from us, we dont have enough to raise and spend locally. If the overall tax burden wasnt so high, localities may be more willing to raise local taxes to pay for local needs.

Because we have lost sight of the benefits of true federalism, we are less likely to have the desire or means to do things locally.

But at least the Colts and Pacers will still be here. lol

jmclain17 said...

Bad idea. Not to mention the extra cost it would be to hold county-wide elections in surrounding counties when only municipalities will be voting next year.

guy77money said...

I figured that someone at the state level would knock this down. I suspect any legislation that burns the good citizens of Marion county is acceptable. Just don't bring your tax increases across the border.