Monday, March 21, 2016

Bipartisan Council Members Sponsoring Referendum Question To Hike Income Taxes For Mass Transit

A bipartisan group of Indianapolis City-County Councilors want a referendum placed on this November's ballot which would authorize yet another increase in the local income tax rate to finance an expanded mass transit system intended to connect the existing bus system operated with IndyGo to the suburban counties which spend nothing on mass transit. Suburban counties will benefit at our expense from a costly bus rapid transit system that would allow low-paid workers from the inner city that the suburban counties don't want living in their communities to travel to and from jobs across the county line into the neighboring counties.

This tax increase comes right on the heels of a 10% income tax hike that took effect on January 1, about which taxpayers were once again lied and told would be used for public safety. In reality, it's being used to finance more giveaways to the politicians' campaign contributors from the ever-increasing percentage of property tax revenues being siphoned away by the TIF slush funds.

Marion County property taxpayers are already financing IndyGo to the tune of more than $65 million a year and will get no relief from the higher income tax to support the boondoggle spending planned for a $1 billion bus rapid transit system to benefit yet more of the politicians' campaign contributors, most of whom ironically live in Carmel or other suburban communities where they avoid Indianapolis' higher taxes.

Proposal No. 145 would authorize a quarter-percent increase in the local income tax, increasing the current rate by more than 14% from 1.77% to 2.02%, pushing the tax rate to the highest income tax rate in Central Indiana and one of the highest in the state, and giving Indianapolis residents further reason to flee the county to escape higher taxes. Indianapolis' income tax rate would be double the current rate paid in wealthy counties like Boone and Hamilton.

Councilors sponsoring the proposal include: Lewis (D), Adamson (D), Fanning (R), Scales (R), Robinson (D), McQuillen (R), Coats (R), McHenry (R), Miller (R), Osili (D), Johnson (D), Mascari (D), Evans (D), Kreider (R), Pfisterer (R) and Ray (D). That's more than enough votes to pass the full council. It just goes to show that there is no reason to elect Republicans to the City-County Council because they are as eager to raise taxes and spend like drunken sailors as their Democratic counterparts.

UPDATE: Advance Indiana has been advised by Councilor Scales that she never authorized her name to be included as a sponsor of Proposal No. 145 and requested her name to be removed from it. Scales indicated that Councilor Coats' name was similarly added to the proposal without his permission. ''

The Star now has a story online, which is naturally pro-tax increase.
 “I think it is absolutely the right thing to do to allow the voters to have their say in this,” Council President Maggie Lewis said. Sixteen of the council’s 25 members, including Democrats and Republicans, signed on as co-sponsors of the proposal. Two other council members, Jack Sandlin and Jared Evans, said they would have signed on as co-sponsors if asked.
Councilman Jeff Miller said the many co-sponsors were intended to show strong support for putting the measure on the ballot. “We don’t want this to be something that limps over the finish line,” Miller said.
Although Miller supports the bus rapid transit plan, he said backing the referendum only signals support for letting voters decide what they will pay for. “Then it comes down to its supporters selling it. But there should be no reason not to put this on the ballot,” Miller said.
I was hoping Jack Sandlin's name not being on the proposal was a smart political decision, but it appears it was left off by omission because he, too, supports the tax increase. The folks who want this passed all support his Senate primary opponent, Jefferson Shreve, the Democrat from Bloomington masquerading as a Republican.

By the way, don't let any politician tell you that their support of this proposal is only to let voters decide. They want this tax increase, and they know the referendum will pass by hook or crook if it appears on the ballot. When both political parties agree that something should pass, there is no fair vote on our computerized voting system. The voting software will be rigged to ensure it passes, and there's no independent voice to stop that from happening when the two political parties are colluding to get something done and so much money is at stake for their political benefactors.

According to the Star, the suburban counties plan to sit back and watch what Marion County does for a few years before deciding on whether to put a referendum on the ballot to fund any part of the mass transit boondoggle. By that point, another 50,000 Marion County residents will have fled to the suburbs.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why let it go to referendum at all, why not just pass the tax hike like the last few times and be done with it? The last 2 big income tax increases supposedly went to hire more cops. Not sure we added any cops doing real on the streets police work either time.

Anonymous said...

Gary is this tax hike to pay for annual operations of the red line? Or installation and annual operations of all rapid transit lines? While ithe sales pitch sure Sounds nice I think a lot of folks will realize unless you live and work near one of these lines you will receive far less benefit over what you pay for. If this is really about more busses then lets get more busses out there and see if it makes a difference in people's lives. But moving people around is not what this is about. It's about having shiny new shit, the next big thing, and pretending we're some well known worldly destination we are not and never will be.

Anonymous said...

7:25 Yep, it's all about appearing that we are a world class hipster city when the truth is that we're just another smelly armpit in the Rust Belt. In spite of all the effort it's nothing more than lipstick on pig, except this tube of lipstick has $1 billion price tag coming right out of our pockets.

Pete Boggs said...

A well known judge with whom I spoke last week, agrees the referenda process has an equity in drafting problem that runs contrary to the interests of the people & should be challenged as such...

Anonymous said...


The entire Indianapolis City County Council is a useless body pretending that voters actually have a say in their government when nothing of the like is true. The Indianapolis City County Council should be abolished. The most active thing they do is cash their own paychecks.

Anonymous said...

More empty transit busses driving the streets of Indy

Anonymous said...

Can the wording of the referendum question be challenged in court and what is the process to do so when the time comes?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The wording of the referendum is set by the state statute authorizing it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, by all means it is absolutely the right thing to let the public vote on it. The public will vote it down. Then we can put this transit silliness to rest. IndyGo is incompetent. We already have one of the most underperforming bus systems of any major city in America. Why in heaven's name would they run shiny new electric BRT any better than they run the uncool buses they have now? Short answer? No reason at all.

Transit is a worthwhile public goal, but Indianapolis doesn't want it and this has been shown time after time after time after time. As is usually the case with these things, there's a relatively small vocal minority that screeches about it, but they're badly outnumbered. They confuse volume with numbers. They throw out nonsense statements like "we're the largest city without transit." We're not. San Antonio is. Maybe Kansas City, too but I digress. These folks envision Indy as some sort of urban hipster oasis in a beanfield. Why they don't just move to Detroit is beyond me. Detroit is actually happening again after 40 years. Indy? Not so much.

The point is that those pushing this have no plan nor do they have the intestinal fortitude to pull it off. They've managed to rankle a lot of the people whose help they need on this by stubbornly clinging to the College alignment. They're mouthy, calling everyone who disagrees a NIMBY. They want to take one of the two or three thriving neighborhoods in the city and turn it into their personal petri dish when, in fact, there's a lot of wasteland that they could possibly fix with a BRT alignment, but no, urban hipster paradise is what they want and this will get them there because all urban hipster paradises have transit.

No worries. This is an easy defeat and then it's back to square one. Indy will not have transit in my lifetime. Of all American cities, we need it less than most. In fact, this is one area where we actually may truly be number one, instead of just pretending we are.

Anonymous said...

Big surprise, Fanning is actually a Dem. Could have told you that was going to happen as soon as she took office and was being wined and dined.

Anonymous said...

If you are watching the Brussels "mass transit" attacks and discussing the issues involved with these terrorist attacks, consider the unintended consequences. Consider what else your county, city, and state government can do to assist in financial terrorism here in Indiana. Just like Car-Mel the European capital of Indiana!!!!

It can't happen here. It can't happen to me. It can not happen to the new mass transit system. That is utter BS.....it can and it will. Wolves go where sheep are located.

Anyone who ever went to war and thought those things, returned and told all of you they thought the same. But for too many it did happen to them.

Pete Boggs said...

Yes, the state has "authorized" proponent drafting of past referenda; vs. equitable drafting to include opponents. The state's obligated to toss up a jump ball; not advantage one side of the issue with a pass...

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:29. Your argument is simplistic, bordering on a strawman. One of the attacks was on the airport. Are you suggesting we close ours? As for the transit angle, think about what TIm McVeigh purportedly did with a Uhaul, a little diesel and some fertilizer. Imagine one of those going off in the south split. It would make Greenwood and Franklin suburbs of Louisville.

Pete Boggs said...

The corrupt Red Lie is economic crash transit...

Brian Wells said...

Loophole alert: Individual townships must opt-in to allow to be taxed for county wide public transportation projects, per IC 8-25-6-12 (http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2014/ic/titles/008/articles/025/chapters/006/pdf) also see: (http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/house/1485#document-93844fc9) page 57.