Monday, July 14, 2014

Ballard: Hiring More Police Officer Won't Solve Crime Problem, But He''ll Use That Excuse To Raise Your Taxes Anyway

Mayor Greg Ballard seems to be offering the public contradictory views on crime. Last week, he sent out his public safety director and police chief to push a plan to raise taxes by at least $25 million annually to hire an addition 100 to 200 additional police officers to address the city's growing crime problem. Yet he tells reporters today that more officers won't help with the crime problem. From the Star:
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard rejected the notion today that simply adding more police officers would solve the city's violent crime problems. 
He said it was "the definition of insanity" to keep going back to the same idea of expanding the police force, which he called a "default option" unsuccessfully relied upon for decades to cut crime. 
 "None of this is the issue," Ballard said, later adding, "You cannot keep going back to default options ... and think that's going to solve the problem."
Ballard's statements today came as his administration announced support for contributing $10 million to IUPUI, a state-owned university that pays no property taxes, to make $10 million in street improvements around the campus, including a new rain garden, and make at least $20 million in repairs to the university's Natatorium, although city officials claim none of the money being paid out of the City's downtown TIF district will be used for the Natatorium.

The definition of insanity is to raise taxes yet again for the purpose of hiring additional police officers and expecting a different result. Ballard came into office nearly 8 years ago with about $90 million a year in additional revenues from a public safety tax enacted by his predecessor. That plan was supposed to be used to hire at least 100 additional police officers. Ballard and the City-County Council placed their spending priorities elsewhere, such as investing more than a half billion dollars in subsidies for TIF-related projects and even more in property tax abatements rather than hiring more police officers. In fact, Ballard until this past year continually boasted that the city's crime rate had fallen under his leadership without hiring additional cops. The mayor's plan to provide future pay raises to current police officers and to build a new criminal justice system will more than consume the additional tax dollars the proposed tax increase will generate.

UPDATE: WTHR-TV's Rich VanWyk's report at 6:00 tonight showed Ballard becoming visibly angry when Van Wyk questioned him about needing more police officers to reduce crime; however, VanWyk threw out some totally false numbers to offer an alternative explanation on why there isn't enough money to hire more police officers without raising taxes again. The video has not been uploaded to WTHR's website.
But the city's been getting a lot less money to pay for fire, police and other essential services. We looked over some of the city's finances and budgets. The recession and tax caps has slashed property tax revenue by $43 million. Income taxes are down $31 million. According to spending numbers, public safety has fared better than most city services.
While tax revenue dropped 13 percent since the start of the recession, IMPD funding increased 11 percent. The police department receives more than a fourth of local tax dollars.
We asked the mayor, given the alarming increase in violent crimes, if there was more money, would you hire more police officers?
"That's not the issue," Ballard answered, sounding irritated. "You guys keep going to that. It's not the issue. If you want to stop violent crime, you have to rethink what people are saying over and over again."
There they go again blaming the recession and property taxes on reduced income and property tax caps. What Van Wyk's numbers fail to disclose is that the 2008 property tax reform law that imposed property taxes required the state of Indiana to take over tens of millions of dollars in annual outlays for unfunded public safety pension liabilities and county welfare services that had previously been locally paid. As usual, no attempt is made to explain where all of the public safety tax revenue increase dollars went. Van Wyk's numbers ignore the nearly $120 million in property taxes that is diverted from funding basic city services each year to the TIF slush funds that are used to reward the politicians' campaign contributors, and the tens of millions in new tax abatements that are approved annually by the Mayor and City-County Council.


Anonymous said...

Ballard has failed to maintain staffing at the police department, resulting in attrition. It's now at the lowest staffing in history.

Ballard appears to have given the lowest priority to police.

It's not hiring "more" police, any hiring now goes into replacing those who have left through attrition.

Anonymous said...

Let's see what happens this weekend in what Indianapolis calls Riot Weekend!

Anyone want to take a date downtown for dinner and a shooting? Oh, there is justice, the shooters during riot weekend when multiple people are shot only get a courtesy 2 years in prison and then come back to commit further crimes against we have seen recently.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. Ballard spending money on bike lanes, Cricket field, pro sports teams, and real estate deals like the Regional Operations Center corruption...

Now we are entering the weekend when NOBODY with common sense goes downtown, Black Expo.

Broad Ripple isn't safe, either.
Now, some of the Broad Ripple merchants cater to the clientele that causes this
(in the interest of $$$ most likely.)

Anonymous said...

Ballard is right. It's a knee-jerk, thoughtless response to think hiring more cops will reduce crime.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:48 Ballard is wrong. Hiring more cops will replace those lost to attrition and ensure that there is proper response in The City.

Right now, violent crime is scaring us and there aren't police to respond to your call for help under Ballard's "ZONE" plan.