Monday, January 07, 2013

Mass Transit Legislation Would Provide Special Election This Year To Raise Income Taxes

Proving once again just how big of an enemy of taxpayers Greg Ballard has become since becoming Indianapolis mayor, legislation he is pushing to create a powerful, unaccountable regional mass transit authority provides for a special election as early as this November that would hike income taxes on every person living in Marion County starting next year. Ballard wants to increase local income taxes 0.3% to finance a regional mass transit authority, which would give Indianapolis residents one of the highest combined state and local income tax rates in the state of Indiana of nearly 2%. HB 1011 would allow a special election to be held on November 5, 2013 for the sole purpose of deciding the following question:

"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.

11 comments:

Jon said...

Another Wishard deal, let's write a very vague question coupled with low voter turnout to get what we want.

Had Enough Indy? said...

It looks like the proposed bill would allow a newly created Metropolitan Transit Authority to TIF all land within half a mile of any fixed rail line. So much for this being of value to the taxpayers for economic development. The economic benefits, if a TIF were created, would all flow to the Authority's coffers.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It is a total monstrosity, Pat. I grew too mad to continue writing about all the crap in it. Those legislators who put their names on it are the biggest dopes alive.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Did you notice, Pat, that it also allows existing local income tax revenues to be appropriated by the counties to the transit district--in addition to the proposed new income tax?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Looks like about 15 square miles can be TIF'd.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks, Pat, for sharing. So now we'll have to raise other taxes to pay for more of our basic services because tens of miles of valuable property will be taken off the tax roles for the sole benefit of mass transit. From what I hear, Ersal Ozdemir's Keystone Construction has already been promised the rights to build all the train stations along the light rail line.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Well, maybe the FBI can watch over the process for any illegalities.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Dream on, Pat.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Yup. Your dreams keep you going. Maybe someday this city will deserve its public. It certainly will not reach that dream if we don't keep speaking truth to power.

Citizen Kane said...

Generally, people who fight for mass transit in low-density, large foot-print cities like Indianapolis are dreamers who have been propagandized in believing such nonsense - we are not and can not be a world class city. They also are mainly a bunch of selfish people who pretend that they only wish to help the poor, when, in fact, they only want to help themselves and want other people to pay for it. They are generally people with no children (and plan to have no children or their children are already grown) who think it would be neat to have a rail line available every time they have a whim to ride one. Do they really think families of four, etc. are going to get rid of their cars and ride the rails every day? They won't do it themselves. Then these DINKS pretend it is affordable because they themselves can afford it, with their two cars in the garage and $100,000 household income. But this is for the poor people, so they can get to work- right! Their ridership numbers as well as their cost numbers are always pure fantasy. They also fantasize about low fares and a comprehensive system. How many cities in the U.S. have a comprehensive system - less than a half dozen? And how many transit systems are broke? Nearly all of them? This is a boondoggle waiting to happen. Oh, and by the way, I ride the bus every day (despite how dirty they are - none of the light rail people are on the bus however) - I just hate to drive but I don't need motorcoaches or fancy trains to use transit. Oh, and there is no mass for the transit here and their never will be.

KJ Roberts said...

My wife and I are strongly opposed to an income tax increase for mass transit. It looks like the proponents are going to present a very organized campaign. Is there any organized effort planned to present the other side of the story?