Riggs called for an elimination of the homestead tax credit to help pay for 100-200 new officers. "We have to have new revenue," he said.
In all, IMPD needs $25 million. Aside from the homestead tax credit being eliminated, leaders called for a public safety tax increase. That would pay for a total of 250 additional officers. That would translate to someone making $50,000 a year paying an additional $65 a year.
"For less than the price of a cup of coffee each week," said Snyder, IMPD could get the hundreds of officers it needs. "But somebody has to act and somebody has to lead."
IMPD Chief Rick Hite said his department has looked in every "nook and cranny" to allocate resources to patrols, but he said more funding was needed.When Ballard took office in 2007, he had the gift of a 65% increase in the local income tax rate that generated nearly $90 million a year in additional tax revenues for public safety passed by a Democratic-controlled council and signed into law by former Mayor Bart Peterson. The so-called Peterson Plan upon which he got elected actually promised better, more efficient government without raising taxes. Indianapolis taxpayers were promised more police officers on the street--at least 100 to be exact. Peterson had also promised millions of dollars in annual savings in public safety by merging the sheriff's law enforcement responsibilities with the former Indianapolis Police Department, which never materialized.
Ballard, for his part, actually campaigned against that 2007 tax increase and even lobbied the state legislature to repeal the property tax after he eked out an upset victory due to voter anger over paying higher taxes. The first thing Ballard did as mayor was reward the FOP with a new contract with its biggest pay boosts in years after getting back control of the department from the sheriff. He then turned the reins of the police department over to his public safety director to run, washing his hands of any responsibility for public safety. Ballard then pilfered the balance of the additional tax revenues from the Peterson tax increase to pad the TIF slush funds he has relied upon to dole out more than a half billion dollars in public subsidies to his campaign contributors for their private real estate development projects. Not one single police officer was hired after your taxes were raised 65% for that very purpose in 2007. Not one additional police officer was hired, even as he raised taxes tens of millions of dollars annually to support the spending of the Capital Improvement Board on the billionaire sports team owners. In fact, the total number of police officers has actually fallen under Ballard's tenure as mayor.
Ballard, Riggs, Hite, the FOP leadership and every City-County Council member who say they are supporting a tax increase this year to hire additional police officers are straight up lying to you. Every dime of these additional tax dollars are needed to pay for the new contract Ballard has already promised the FOP, and the bulk of these additional dollars are required to enter into a public-private partnership with a foreign company to build, operate and maintain a new criminal justice system that will be officially approved no later than January of next year. Additional payments that will be required to be paid to the private operator will consume the rest of the $25 million a year from this latest proposed tax increase, and then some, that the administration claims it needs to hire 100 to 200 new officers. The proposal isn't even palpable on its face, but the management of the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Business Journal, and each of the four television news stations have already met behind closed doors and agreed to put on a full court press to win approval of this tax increase this year. There will be no equal time for dissenting viewpoints. It will be just one propaganda piece after another chocked full of nothing but lies. You will have only false choices: Vote for higher taxes or be labeled an obstructionist opposed to providing adequate funding for public safety.
You threw the bums out in 2007 for lying to you, and the bums you replaced them with reneged on all of their campaign promises. Will you be fooled again? If they want more money for police officers, make the lying SOBs take the money out of the $120 million a year they're diverting from local government in property tax revenues each year to their TIF slush funds. If public safety is their number one priority, then make them choose public safety over the hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks they've been giving to their campaign contributors the past seven years. Don't let them have their cake and eat it too. The fact of the matter is that these people could give damn less about your public safety. Until they fear for their political lives, they will continue their panhandling ways that are no better than the bums on the streets downtown they spend too much time complaining about.