"Unfortunately, the part of the city budget that goes to cover police and firefighter pensions is the same part of the budget that pays for ongoing police and fire operations, including additional resources needed for public safety. We will meet our pension obligations, and we will also find a way to pay for the additional public safety resources we need. And it is important to do both without raising taxes. Raising taxes may sound like an easy answer, but if we want to avoid the urban death spiral that so many other American cities have experienced, we cannot give individuals and businesses an incentive to leave our city."
After reading the Mayor's words, think about all the taxes he's raised during the past 4 years and the taxes he still wants to raise to meet obligations he told us we could meet 7 years ago without a tax increase. And then ask yourself what has changed. Why will raising taxes not lead to the"urban death spiral" that will give "individuals and businesses and incentive to leave our city." Who do you believe? The Bart Peterson of 2000 or the Bart Peterson of 2007?
Tully thinks Peterson's 2000 words will haunt him this year, and they should. Greg Ballard and the Marion Co. GOP can't let Peterson off the hook. People are fed up with the rising taxes and crime in our city. It presents a golden opportunity for the GOP. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John seems to grasp this. He has come out against Mayor Peterson's latest tax increase. John had this to say in a recent press release:
“It is unconscionable that Mayor Peterson would propose a $90 million income tax increase at the same time homeowners face huge double digit property tax increases,” John declared this week. “Mayor Peterson talks a good game, and always has someone else to blame for the problems, but his own record shows he has done nothing to reduce local government spending,” said John. “Time and time again the Mayor has stood silently on the sidelines while local government spending has exploded.” “Peterson needs to ‘walk the walk' if he is going to 'talk the talk.’ Instead of pointing fingers, Peterson should immediately conduct his own thorough and public review of all local budgets,” John said. “It’s time for the Mayor to sharpen his own pencil and find ways to cut local government spending with the exception of public safety.”
John reminds us of another one of Mayor Peterson's broken promies. Peterson created a Fiscal Policy Council four years ago by executive order to help coordinate spending and taxing priorities among Marion County's dozen's of political subdivisions. John asks if the council has even bothered to meet and do anything during the four years of its existence. John asks, "Well, Mr. Mayor, can we now see some follow through and you show some leadership by using this policy panel effect a real reduction in local spending?” I think the game is up for Mayor Peterson. It's time for change.