The comments made by Councilor Hunter at last night's council meeting were made during a discussion of the admissions tax increase. Councilor Hunter says there is a continued need to resolve the ongoing problem with funding public safety. What he doesn't explain is that Indianapolis income taxpayers saw their tax rates raised 65% in 2007 to enact what was dubbed a public safety tax because it was said to benefit only public safety. Despite assurances the tax would allow at least 100 new police officers to be hired, that never happened. We now have fewer police officers on the streets than we had in 2007. Where did the money go, Councilor Hunter?
It takes a lot of nerve for Councilor Hunter to accuse taxpayers of receiving a subsidy for a tax credit they receive on their property tax bill payable from the income taxes they pay. Lest we forget that part of the sale to taxpayers for enacting a local income tax was to lessen local government's reliance on property taxes for their funding. A subsidy, Councilor Hunter, is the $6.5 million you supported giving to Ersal Ozdemir to build his new parking garage in Broad Ripple, or the $10 million a year you support giving to billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers. Sure Councilor Hunter supports raising the admissions tax. It's a tax that he doesn't pay because he's the first in line whenever a special interest representative or lobbyist is offering free tickets to councilors as a reward for the favorable votes they cast. Now that's a subsidy. Tickets and other freebies Councilor Hunter has accepted since becoming a councilor total in the thousands of dollars and would definitely fall into the category of subsidies for the Hunter household. Perhaps if special interests were forced to issue 1099s to all public officials who accept their gifts, there would be a whole lot less gift-giving. Better yet, why don't we bar gifts to our public officials altogether? Maybe then their judgment won't become so clouded when making decisions about whose taxes should be raised. I also wanted to point out that only two Republican councilors bucked the Mayor and the GOP leadership to vote against the two tax increases, Councilors Christine Scales and Jack Sandlin. The new GOP councilor from Bloomington, Jefferson Shreve, voted for both tax increases.
UPDATE: Showing his true colors, Councilor Hunter tweeted during last night's council meeting this derogatory comment about fellow Councilor Brian Mahern, who spoke out against the tax increase:
Mahern is talking. There was a baby crying in the chamber earlier, he should run & kiss it and let the 2 yr old know he's running for Mayor.Hat tip to Jon Easter, and I concur with his assessment on his blog that councilors on both sides of the aisle were embarrassingly disrespectful to one another.