UPDATE: The Star has more on the Democrat's reaction to the Mayor's veto action today, who assert that Indiana law prohibits the Mayor from reducing the budgets of constitutional officeholders and the judicial officers:
City-County Council Democrats and all nine Marion County elected officials -- all Democrats -- released a statement this afternoon blasting Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's budget decision as "the lowest level of 'my way or the highway politics.' "
Ballard, a Republican, used his line-item veto to delete a line allowing spending by county agencies of $32 million in local income taxes, their entire share. His aim was to save money for an expected deficit in the 2014 budget -- and also to entice Democrats back to the negotiating table.
The Democrats' statement focused on the potential severe cuts their offices will face early next year and said the council-passed budget -- approved 18-11 on Oct. 15, with two Republicans voting crossing over -- was responsible. It "protected home owners from unnecessary tax increases and provided critical new funding for public safety," the statement says.
It continues: "The Mayor's action today to divert nearly thirty-two million dollars from critical County government services represents the lowest level of 'my way or the highway politics.' It is reckless, irresponsible, and in fact unlawful for the Mayor to decide to cut critical services like prosecution of crimes, death investigations, court administration and child support. Indiana Code specifically prohibits the Mayor from vetoing any part of the budget for countywide officers specified in the Indiana Constitution or for judicial offices or officers." . . .
"The Mayor says that public safety is job one," the Democrats' statement says. "Illegally reducing the budget of constitutional and judicial officers and jeopardizing public safety undermines the commitment he has made to voters. The Council and countywide elected officials have been transparent since the budget process began. We passed the City County budget more than two weeks ago. The Council's minor changes to the Mayor's proposed budget have been well-known for some time. The Mayor's eleventh hour veto is an attempt to force the Council to accept his recommendations without questioning the long-term effects."The Indiana Code does back the Democrats' contention that Ballard's use of the line-item veto to slash the funding of constitutional and judicial officers is illegal. I.C. 36-3-4-14(b)(1) specifically prohibits a veto for the following: "An ordinance or resolution, or part of either, providing for the budget or appropriating money for an office or officer of the county provided for by the Constitution of Indiana or for a judicial office or officer." In addition, I.C. 36-3-4-14(b)(2) prohibits the mayor from using his veto pen regarding a portion of the CIB's budget: "An ordinance or resolution approving or modifying the budget of a political subdivision that the legislative body is permitted by statute to review."