To believe Tully, Wee's death is to be blamed on the lack of revenues to pay for the City of Indianapolis' infrastructure needs. He then goes on to use the tragedy to pitch a commuter tax on suburban residents who live outside Indianapolis but commute to work in Indianapolis to pay for infrastructure costs. This is the same columnist who praised the City for providing $6.5 million to the mayor's money bag man, Ersal Ozdemir, to build a parking garage and donating another $6 million to the politically-connected developer, Browning Investments, for another mixed use retail project in Broad Ripple. Those are just two of many projects to which Tully and his bosses at The Star have supported giving away public tax dollars totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Sorry, Mr. Tully, the problem isn't a lack of revenues; it's a lack of spending priorities on the part of those making the decisions, who value their campaign contributors more than their fellow citizens. Your shameless plug for yet another tax increase we know will largely benefit the same campaign contributors who feed at the public trough is beneath decency even for you.
UPDATE: To my point, the IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin has a story about the downtown TIF fund being awash in cash, which I've long dubbed the Mayor's slush fund:
The Indianapolis downtown TIF district is so flush with cash that the mayor can cover all its debt payments, fund two layers of reserves, and still have tens of millions to spend at his discretion.
Free cash in the downtown TIF could amount to $59.3 million by the end of 2018, according to the city controller’s projections.
Like all tax-increment financing districts, the downtown TIF is essentially a reservoir for property-tax revenue that otherwise would flow to government units throughout the county. The way cash is piling up in the city’s largest TIF raises the question: Is it time to open the floodgates?
“It definitely allows an opportunity,” Controller Matthew Kimmick said . . .
Ballard plans to spend $22 million on one-time projects this year and leave $7.3 million in the fund when he steps down Dec. 31 after two terms.
This year’s spending includes the IUPUI roads, repairs to Union Station and buying a Citizens Energy property on Waterway Boulevard to create a shovel-ready site for the 16 Tech business park.
There’s no shortage of demand for downtown improvements. In an interview with IBJ, Democratic mayoral hopeful Joe Hogsett said he’s hearing a drumbeat from downtown stakeholders for a makeover of Circle Centre. He also foresees the need to boost Monument Circle as a family attraction.
Hogsett declined to get into specifics about how he would finance economic development. He’s aware the downtown TIF could be perceived as benefiting real estate developers, but he’s not ruling out any tools at his disposal.
“I think it ought to be used very cautiously,” he said of the downtown TIF’s excess cash.
Chuck Brewer, the Marion County GOP’s endorsed candidate, declined to comment ahead of the May 5 primary, in which he faces two opponents, Jocelyn Tandy-Adande and Terry Michael . . .
The Indianapolis downtown TIF was the only exception to a 2014 law that required all TIF districts created before 1995 to dissolve by 2025. Lawmakers cited the city’s past revenue-sharing practice as one reason for special treatment . . .