Sunday, February 03, 2013

Star Editor's Mahern Miss Intentionally Misses The Point

The Indianapolis Star is waging a war to discredit City-County Councilor Brian Mahern at every turn because he seeks transparency in city government, something it doesn't want to see happen. Much of Mahern's focus has been on the CIB's lack of transparency and its push to garner an increasing share of local tax dollars to support its downtown sports and convention facilities, a view not shared by the Star editorial board. The Star views Mahern as a threat to the downtown mafia's agenda, whose organized crime racket the Star embraces with unbridled enthusiasm.

In today's editorial, it ticks off what it calls "Hits" and "Misses" for the week. Identified as "Miss" is a proposal by Councilor Mahern that would allow the City to charge up to a 3% fee to charter schools sponsored by the Mayor's office to offset the costs his office spends overseeing city-sponsored charter schools. The state law that allows for Indianapolis' mayor to sponsor charter schools approved by the city-county council specifically allows the city to charge up to a 3% administrative fee from the state funding the charter schools receive from the state for basic tuition support. Other charter school sponsors like Ball State University collect the fee. Currently, Indianapolis taxpayers are picking up the ballooning administrative costs the Mayor's office incurs from overseeing charter school as more charter schools are established. The newspaper's editors totally twist what Mahern's proposal does in its deliberately misleading editorial:
Observers of the City-County Council have grown accustomed (although bored might be the better word) to council member Brian Mahern's political antics in recent years. Much of Mahern's rhetoric and even proposed ordinances are so blatantly partisan that some members of his own Democratic caucus no longer take him seriously. Still, that hasn't stopped Mahern. Last week, he proposed a new 3 percent tax on mayor-sponsored charter schools. The money would be used to pay administrative costs in city hall. At a time when educators are being pressed to cut administrative costs so that more dollars can flow to classrooms, Mahern wants to do exactly the opposite.
Notice how they selectively use the word "tax" to describe the administrative fee proposed by Mahern. The Star also has no room to talk when it comes to duplicity in funding for our local schools. It has supported proposal after proposal by the Ballard administration to cut property tax dollars that flow to support traditional public schools like IPS. It supported Mayor Ballard's plan to eliminate the homestead property tax credit, which would collectively take several millions dollars a year in funding away from area public schools. It has also supported the expansion of TIF areas that are rapidly eroding the tax base in Marion County that schools and other local units of government depend upon for their funding, which Mahern has fought to curtail. The Star has criticized Mahern's support of TIF reforms and his support of a $15 million PILOT assessed on the CIB's tax-exempt facilities that are used exclusively for for-profit purposes rather than eliminating the homestead property tax credit.

Mahern has been desperately trying to get the CIB to reveal who receives free tickets to events at Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Fieldhouse from the CIB and the Mayor's Office but has been continually stonewalled. The Star has been dismissive of his efforts to make that information available since many of the free tickets are being given to City-County Councilors who have continuously voted to raise taxes and increase the CIB's funding while slashing funding for basic city services. In short, the Star's editors are an enemy of ordinary taxpayers. They are so committed to advancing the agenda of the downtown mafia that they will resort to publishing lies and misrepresentations in an effort to skewer anyone like Mahern who opposes their agenda. Absolutely shameful.

Not surprisingly, a big "Hit" with the Star's editors is the passage of Mayor Ballard's regional mass transit plan that will hike local income taxes at least 20% to begin spending billions of dollars on an expanded metropolitan mass transit system which all objective observers agree will never attract sufficient riders to offset operating costs, let alone servicing the billions in debt that will be accumulated to build it. Like other mass transit systems in other cities, more tax increases to bail out the system will be necessary in the future. The initial tax won't come close to covering the costs of the system that is being proposed. The Star's editors have nothing but glowing comments for the bill's sponsor, State Rep. Jerry Torr, who signed a pledge against raising taxes as a candidate:
State Rep. Jerry Torr has long been a passionate advocate for mass transit in Central Indiana. Even when faced with skepticism from members of his own caucus, the Carmel Republican has preserved, despite scant evidence until now of progress in the Statehouse. But on Wednesday, Torr's latest mass transit bill, HB 1011, passed the House Roads and Transportation Committee by an 11-1 vote. That doesn't mean the legislation is on a fast track, but Torr clearly is in it for the long haul.
So if your goal is to look out for the taxpayers' interests, the Star will condemn you and throw its weight around to discredit you. If you favor raising taxes to reward pay-to-play, clout-driven crowd who are paying off the politicians to push this mass transit plan, the Star will give you a gold star. Pretty much the piss-poor opinions readers have come to expect from a Gannett publication.

1 comment:

Flogger said...

The Star must write articles to reinforce their own bias and affirm to the Insiders, Power Brokers and Crony-Capitalists The Star is on their side. Any challenge to the Corporate Welfare System is dismissed as in the case of Mahern or simply ignored.

I noticed also the The Star is beginning to trumpet Joe Hogsett as a possible Mayoral Candidate.

Tully recently had an article on the Horse Racing Industry receiving subsidy, which they have years. He does not like it. The Subsidy the Colts and Pacers receive escapes his attention.