Thursday, February 21, 2013

Self-Dealing Lawmaker Carves Out Exemption For Himself From Tax Increase To Support Mass Transit

You may recall serious questions being raised about how an old school building purchased by State Rep. Eric Turner's family just happened to be chosen to serve as a call center to serve the Family & Social Service Administration's welfare clients under a controversial welfare privatization plan that Turner helped usher through the state legislature. You may also recall that Marion Co. taxpayers were put on the hook to finance a new nursing home for a Turner family-owned business on Indianapolis' east side. It looks like Turner is up to his old habits of helping himself out again in his official capacity.

The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives of which Turner is a part is seeking to impose a new local income tax on Marion County and surrounding counties that are considered a part of the metropolitan area of Indianapolis to finance a multi-billion dollar regional mass transit plan under HB 1011. Turner's Hamilton County could become a part of the new mass transit taxing district if local approval is obtained. Yet Turner is leaving nothing to chance for himself. Turner offered a second reading amendment to HB 1011 yesterday, which was adopted on a voice vote, that would allow certain border townships to opt out of the mass transit taxing district altogether. This would include the border township in which Turner resides in the town of Cicero within Hamilton County's Jackson Township on the bordering county of Howard. Turner said the $1.3 billion dollar plan will have a greater likelihood of success if areas like his home area are exempt from the tax.

Interestingly, the most expensive component of the proposed mass transit system is a new light rail line that would be built from downtown Indianapolis all the way to Noblesville, which is in the township next door to Turner's Jackson Township. So if the taxes are imposed on all of the rest of us within the mass transit district, Turner, a millionaire businessman, would be able to take a short six-mile drive down to Noblesville and catch the train down to Indianapolis without paying the higher income taxes all the rest of us would be forced to pay. Don't you just love it. Turner can use his political muscle at the State House to build up his family's business empire at the same time he exempts himself from paying the same taxes he expects you and I to pay. Let's face it. Folks in downtown Indianapolis aren't going to be using that billion-dollar train to Nobleville. It's being built for the benefit of the residents of Hamilton County who might choose to take the train down to the State Fair or a Colts game. If anyone should be exempt from paying the mass transit tax, it should be the people living in downtown Indianapolis. We've already been paying tens of millions of dollars a year in property taxes to support a bus system most people refuse to ride.


mphill109 said...

This has to violate some type of ethics law/rule...right?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sorry, but this is Indiana. Their ain't no ethics law in this state that doesn't have more holes than teeth that legalizes anything these corrupt bastards do.