Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Indianapolis Has Been Bailing Out TIF Districts For Years

Fellow blogger Pat Andrews unearths a revelation from the City of Indianapolis' past budgets that other tax resources, including property taxes, have been tapped to the tune of tens of millions of dollars to cover shortfalls in the cost of maintaining TIF districts. If you exclude the downtown and airport TIF districts, revenues from elsewhere had to be found to cover a nearly $30 million shortfall in the remaining TIF districts in the city. While the cost of operating these TIF districts was $80 million, the TIF districts generated only $53.3 million in revenues. So where did the money come from to cover this huge shortfall? According to Andrews, the City tapped several sources, including property taxes collected from outside the TIF districts, including:
  • $1.2 million from local option income taxes;
  • $6.1 million from city-owned parking garages;
  • $16.6 million transferred from the downtown and airport TIF districts; and
  • $16.6 million from property taxes paid by property owners outside the TIF districts.
"It bears repeating, property taxes OUTSIDE the TIFs was raised to cover costs associated INSIDE the TIFs, in addition to income taxes and transfers from two better performing TIFs," Andrews writes. Shockingly, the Ballard administration is demanding that the city-county council approve six new TIF districts, including areas like Mass Ave that are already booming with economic activity at the same time it is asking city agencies that provide basic city services, including police and fire, to find ways of cutting their budgets to close a $50-60 million deficit the city is facing in its 2013 budget. Andrews further learned that the Economic Development Bonds Fund was suppose to end the 2012 budget year with a $5.3 million positive balance. Instead, it is now projected to end this year's budget with a $2 million negative balance, which will grow to $6.7 million by the end of the 2013 budget year. "What happened to cause a $7.3 million swing in the 2012 budget for a fund whose annual costs amount to only $4 million?" Andrews asks.

Per the usual, if you want to know the truth about the city's true financial state of affairs, you will have to turn to the blogs as your news source. The Ballard administration is lying to the public, and the mainstream media is simply parroting the administration's propaganda that further TIF district expansions are necessary to sustain economic development in Indianapolis. The only reason for expanding TIF districts is to continue this shell game of redirecting tax dollars away from the funding of basic city services towards economic development projects to allow the transfer of hundreds of millions of public dollars directly into the pockets of the developers who have bought and paid for the politicians we elected to represent the people, who will tell us that we have to choose between paying higher taxes or accepting fewer city services. Crony capitalism is job one for the Ballard administration, and the mainstream media has become its number one cheerleader.

3 comments:

Mary Roger Bowser said...

When is someone ANYONE going to start holding the CCC responsible for not doing anything about this.
Both sides are only concerned with their own re-elections and one-upping the opposition.
No one seems to give a whit about the taxpayers who continue getting raped by both sides.

Jon said...

Wasn't it just last year that the ICVA got TIF dollars, like 6-7 million?

Gary R. Welsh said...

It depends on which way you want to look at it, Jon. Either the money went to the Pacers for their subsidy or the money went to the ICVA. Money from the TIF district was washed through the CIB.