"Shall _________ County have the ability to impose a county economic development income tax rate, not to exceed a rate of _________ (insert recommended rate included in the ordinance under subsection (a)), to pay for improved.
By holding a special election this year, proponents are counting on an extremely low voter turnout to ease its passage. A special election would also cost taxpayers about $1 million. If the referendum is approved, a new metropolitan transit district will be created whose membership could include up to nine neighboring counties in Central Indiana, in addition to Marion County, including: Boone, Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Morgan and Shelby Counties. The metropolitan transit district would be established starting next year even if only the voters of Marion County ultimately approved it at a special election this year, in which case the Indianapolis transportation board that oversees IndyGo would be abolished and have its powers transferred to the newly-created metropolitan transit district, along with its power to levy property taxes. The Indianapolis City-County Council would have even less authority over the metropolitan transit district than it currently has over the Capital Improvement Board, which isn't saying much. A newly-created, appointed metropolitan transit district board will guarantee one voting member of the board who represents the public employees union to which public transportation employees belong. There will be no voice on the board for ordinary taxpayers.
This is a horribly written piece of legislation that is designed to put extraordinary taxing and borrowing powers in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable regional transportation authority. Concerned taxpayers must implore the Republican-controlled legislature to kill this legislation, which is being sponsored by Reps. Jerry Torr, Cindy Kirchoffer, Greg Porter and Cherrish Pryor, who are obviously enemies of the taxpayers to have put their names on this legislation. This is nothing but a boondoggle for politically-connected contractors and law firms that stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars off an endeavor that is poorly conceived and will lead to numerous bailouts and future tax increases to support a mass transit system that will never attract nearly enough riders to come close to covering its operating costs.
UPDATE: I see where my newly-elected state representative, Dan Forestal, is chomping at the bit to vote to raise taxes to support a mass transit system as one of his first orders of business. Forestal is a full-time Indianapolis firfefighter. He will no doubt be offered a promotion and pay raise by the Ballard administration if he votes the correct way at the State House or be demoted or fired if he doesn't because that's the only way Ballard administration knows how to conduct the government's business. To demonstrate how misinformed Forestal is, he repeats a totally false claim of the proponents that Indianapolis would realize $4 increase in business sales for every $1 it spends on mass transit. "This could be accomplished without adding a single dollar in new spending," How stupid do these people think we are? If we're paying higher income taxes to spend $1.3 billion on the first phase of this boondoggle, you damn well better believe it's going to cost money. And virtually no mass transit system operates in the U.S. without huge public subsidies paid by taxpayers who don't even utilize the system even after many years of operation and many miles of fully-developed routes linking entire metropolitan areas. Forestal sees $1.3 billion in new taxes, borrowing and spending as a way "to get people back to work." Forget the high-income earners who will continue to flee Marion County to avoid paying the higher taxes and be stuck sending their kids to the worst public schools in the state.