Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tully Still Doesn't Get It

One paragraph in Matt Tully's column discussing the dust up in the mayor's race over the number of police officers in this morning's Star hits home the point of just how much he doesn't get it:

I'm sorry to tell you this, but adding a meaningful number of police to the streets will require a willingness to consider a tax increase or some other clever revenue-raising plan. The money to dramatically boost the police ranks simply doesn't exist in the city budget, and the state's hard cap on property taxes is already affecting things such as the frequency of new police recruit classes. It's only going to get worse in the years to come.
Apparently Tully doesn't recall the columns he wrote four years ago defending then-Mayor Bart Peterson's 65% increase in the local income tax--remember, the one that was suppose to put more police officers on the street to fight crime. Tax increases aren't the answer; it's a question of spending priorities. Whenever the city wants to spend more money on the sports teams, the convention center, wasting money on unnecessary downtown improvements or simply giving away millions of taxpayer dollars to private developers, the money is always there. When it comes to funding basic city services, we are always told we must choose between higher taxes or reduced services. We fell for that four years ago, and what we learned was there still wasn't enough money to hire more police officers until a federal grant was found to fund new police. Now we learn the city is cheating on the way it counts police officers--counting park rangers as police officers--simply to keep the numbers high enough to keep the federal dollars flowing.

Tully naturally blames the lack of funding for police officers on property tax caps, but the taxpayers were hit with yet another tax increase, a one percentage point increase in the state sales tax, as a trade off for property tax caps. Then there was more than a half billion dollars of the city's public safety pension debt the state assumed, which freed up another $20 million a year in the city's budget to spend elsewhere that was one of the reasons we were told we had to raise the local income tax 65% four years ago. Is Tully's memory really that short?

4 comments:

Indy4u2c said...

It is a question of priorities!

Straub's priorities have been to build a luxury suite of offices for his royal highness, pay for senseless PERF study, and hire the largest personal staff ever in our City's Dept of Public Safety.

Here is a challenge: Add up the total cost of Straub's suite of offices, salaries for his personal CPA, deputy directors, public relations staff, PERF study, and the various police office space reallocation movements he ordered for no good reason, and police salaries for those now assigned to be Straub's personal servants and how much money would be in the pot? Would that be enough to have hired/trained enough new police officers to keep the COPS grant?

Indy Student said...

Steve Hammer at NUVO is also another long time columnist who has defended both Peterson and now Ballard. Tully is a bright guy, and when he writes about education, you can tell it's well researched and he has a passion for it. But it seems like he takes the easy way out when discussing local and state politics.

Advance Indiana said...

Hammer is a one trick pony. I wondered what he would do when he didn't have George Bush to kick around anymore. Well, he just keeps bashing away at Bush for every problem that besets us whether there is any relationship or not. Nuvo really lost any claim as a truly alternative newspaper after Harrison Ullman passed. The last hard reporting they did was a review of local strip clubs that advertise in its publication. They didn't even bother to review Dick Cady's book, Deadline: Indianapolis, even though he was a former writer for their publication. The Star didn't write one either. Matt Tully should be totally ashamed of himself for never writing a column about Cady's book. Either he was ordered not to write about it by Ryerson, or he wasn't about to draw attention to the former Pulitzer-prize winning reporter and columnist with whom he has been less than favorably compared.

Maple Syrup Maven said...

"Nuvo really lost any claim as a truly alternative newspaper after Harrison Ullman passed."

Yep.

We still mourn his loss on the Indy journalism scene.