Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Star Reports On Bloody Start To Summer, It's Time To Talk About Guns And Tax Increases

The Star's John Tuohy has a story following the deadly 24-hour period that left eight people shot or dead, echoing my report yesterday about the city being on track to record the highest number of homicides since 2006.
Eight street outreach workers rushed to a fatal shooting Monday night on the Indianapolis Northeastside and found only roiling vindictiveness.
As paramedics attended to the two victims and police put up crime tape, members of the Ten Point Coalition hustled to settle down a large, angry crowd.
“There were 100 people out there, and they were all screaming about revenge,” the Rev. Charles Harrison, coalition president, said Tuesday. “They were a mob. We had to hold them back from rushing onto the crime scene.” . . .
So far this year, 71 people have been killed in Marion County. If that rate continues, the number of dead could reach 150 by the end of the year. That would be the most homicides since 151 people were slain in 2006 and not far from the record number of homicides in Marion County — 162 — in 1998.
It's a Gannett paper that is pushing the New World Order agenda to strip us of our Second Amendment rights so there's the gratuitous push for banning guns.
“The short-term increases are clearly alarming,” said Thomas Stucky, an associate professor at IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “All too frequently recently, the news is about another person getting shot.” . . .
“If you could substitute guns with knives and clubs the homicide rate would be almost zero,” said Stucky, of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
And Matt Tully will be Matt Tully. The rising homicide rate is all your fault because you aren't paying high enough taxes.
Listen, in this city we don’t question whether we will do what it takes to keep our big-league sports teams. We decided long ago that there was wisdom in investing in a strong Downtown. Our leaders have announced that they are willing to spend heavily to improve mass transit. Time and again we have said yes to our dreams and goals and then gotten to work to make them happen . . .
On public safety, even in these awful budget times, the mayor needs to acknowledge the need for a fully staffed police department and then charge his financial whizzes with the task of figuring out how to do it. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. This city found a way to secure roughly half-a-billion dollars for roads and sidewalks. It found a way to build Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s come up with a plan to invest heavily in transit. It has repeatedly poured money into Downtown.
Finding efficiencies will help. But that likely won’t be enough; in the end the city will have to figure out a way to fund the salaries of new officers. Not just a few, but dozens. That might involve income taxes, new fees or rethinking how the city spends the tens of millions left in the infrastructure fund. It won’t be easy, but saying no to a fully staffed police department is not an option. Just say yes . . .
And then show the need. Sure, voters don’t like tax increases, and many politicians have paid a deep price for proposing them. But recent referendum elections over education funding have made clear that when leaders show the need for more money, and when their plan is not based on a whim but on solid evidence, voters generally accept the idea. You’ll have trouble finding anyone in Marion County who doesn’t think crime is a major issue, so making this case shouldn’t be too difficult. But even if it is difficult, it’s the right thing to do.
It's a column that will get Tully another pat on the back by the downtown mafia and a few more invitations to break bread and spoon feed stories to him so he doesn't have to break a sweat to write his next useless column.

What a predictable, useless tool Tully has become. We heard this same song and dance from him the last time the murder rate spiked to record levels. We have to raise income taxes. We did--65% to be exact. What did it get us? The most corrupt mayor in modern Indianapolis history, who did the complete opposite of everything he said he would do when he ran for office, fewer police officers and hundreds of millions more in public giveaways to the Mayor's pay-to-play pals and the billionaire sports team owners. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, who's a carbon copy of the typical mopes who get elected as mayors in the major cities in Indiana, won approval from the Fort Wayne city council to "support public safety" by raising local income taxes 35% for all Allen County residents (nothing like taxation without representation if you live outside Fort Wayne in Allen Co.), and impose a new property tax levy to pay for capital debt.
Mayor Tom Henry praised the measure, which was a compromise from one his administration pushed to close an expected budget gap for 2014. He said the new revenue will not only sustain the city but position it for success.
"Fort Wayne City Council tonight voted favorably on one of the most important initiatives in the history of the city of Fort Wayne," Henry said in a written statement. "By investing in ourselves, we're saying we're committed to a great quality of life, tremendous neighborhoods, new jobs, and business growth."
Only two Republican council members voted against the tax increase and one, Mitch Harper, is running for mayor. Naturally, those who voted for the tax increase blamed the property tax caps for necessitating the need to raise income taxes even though Fort Wayne, like Indianapolis, has decimated its tax property tax base with TIFS and generous tax abatements.
"This is not a huge tax increase, it's catching up to what we lost," [John] Crawford said, citing the property tax caps imposed in 2009. "Just because we decreased property tax revenues doesn't mean the cost of running the city went down."
The city has lost $53 million in revenue since the caps were put in the state constitution and is expected to lose $20 million more next year. The package approved increases revenue about $13.5 million . . . 
Harper said he is most concerned that the increased revenues will increase the temptation for the city to borrow. One of the arguments in favor of the tax hikes was that the city needs to stop its cycle of borrow and spend.

"We haven't seen pay-as-you-go up to now," Harper said. "We have no history of that."

The plan Harper and Jehl proposed did not increase income taxes but did raise current property taxes the same as the approved plan and also called for $6 million in new borrowing to ease cash flow until revenues improved.

UPDATE: Fellow blogger Fred McCarthy has a brilliantly written and spot on reaction to the latest news as always.

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