Friday, July 20, 2007

Council Democrats Vote To Tax You More

Unable to reign in their uncontrollable habit to spend, Democrats on the City-County Council's Administration and Finance Committee outvoted Republicans on the committee by a 4-2 vote to send a proposal to increase the county option income tax 65% to pay for pensions, more police officers and added criminal justice expenditures and a supposed freeze in local property tax levies. Council member Lance Langsford (R), a firefighter, was on vacation and did not vote. Councilor Vernon Brown (D), another firefighter on the committee, voted for the tax increase to fund his own department's budget. Councilor Lincoln Plowman (R), a police officer, voted against the proposal. Committee members were forced to reconvene in the Assembly room after the public hearing room quickly filled up.
About 20 police officers were detailed for crowd control tonight. It seemed a bit of an overkill, particularly to the gentleman who testified against the proposed tax increase and whose wife was beaten and robbed outside a donut shop this morning. "Where were you all this morning when my wife needed help," the man said to the police officers lined up behind Sheriff Frank Anderson (D).

Committee Chairman Joanne Sanders (D) opened tonight's meeting by publicly apologizing to Jack Borgerding, the Lockerbie resident who was ejected from Monday night's meeting after he publicly testified against the tax increase. Borgerding was in the audience tonight. I spoke to he and his wife, Christine, tonight before the council meeting. Jack wants to move on and not let what happened to him be the center of focus. Christine jokingly asked me if Jen Wagner wants to know if they have a joint bank account in reference to Wagner's suggestion that her husband did not testify honestly about his property tax bill because their home is listed in her name.

There was considerable discussion tonight on the portion of the income tax increase that will be used to fund police and firefighter pensions. An historical explanation tells us that the unfunded liability was first addressed back in the 1970s when a portion of the cigarette and liquor taxes was earmarked for pension liability relief. In the 1980s, Indianapolis enacted its first county option income tax for the first time at the rate of 0.2% for the sole purpose of funding a pension relief trust fund. The rate eventually increased to 0.9% by the late 1990s. The COIT originally generated about $8.5 million for the trust fund. Transfers to the trust fund rose to $11 million annually in the Goldsmith administration, even reaching $15 million at one point. Over time, however, the City-County Council began raiding COIT funds for other uses--namely public safety expenditures. So now we are facing yet another 65% increase in the COIT to only partially fund the pension problem. The bulk will go to added public safety and criminal justice spending. Although Councilor Nytes suggested the increase would allow the council to freeze local property tax levies, audience members weren't buying it.

There was also some discussion about what happened to the supposed savings from police and fire consolidation. A city official claimed nearly $18 million in annual savings from the consolidation of IPD and the sheriff's department and the consolidation of two township fire departments, Washington and Wayne, into IFD. The city is, however, spending an extra $53 million in the annual budget for public safety, compared to an overall city budget increase of $47 million. So the short answer is that we saved you $18 million by consolidating, but we plowed all those savings and then into additional spending on public safety.

The consensus of members of the public who testified at tonight's meeting was that the council should table the tax increase for now. Let's see what comes of legislative attempts to address the statewide property tax and local government financing problems in the coming months. It was apparent to audience members that this tax increase is a stop gap measure at best. What did last year's 0.1% increase in the COIT get us? The loudest reaction from the audience came when Tom Miller of the Indiana Firefighters suggested Indianapolis was one of the lowest taxed cities in the country and this new tax increase would not be particularly burdensome. That evoked a strong reaction from the audience. Miller quickly ended his testimony and took his seat.

Sanders tipped the Democrats' hand when she hinted that the Mayor would announce steep budget cuts tomorrow morning in store if the council fails to pass his tax increase. It will likely include laying off police officers and firefighters. Council Republicans, for their part, will announce an alternative 10-point plan on Monday to get by without an immediate tax increase. Councilor Plowman suggested that proposal would be offered as an amendment to the ordinance committee Democrats passed tonight.


Anonymous said...

Voting no longer works in Marion Co. There are too many sheeple with their hands out for their cut of the pie. Elected hacks have to come up with money to keep the right people feed, otherwise they loose their cush jobs in public "service." This is one of those cases where the right to move about the country ranks better than voting. Folks need to move. Indy/Marion Co. has become just another urban cesspool. Whatever low taxes the city had are gone. The low cost of living is gone. Various government units have gotten so top heavy (police, fire, etc) that until the baby boomers start leaving by the boat loads, nothing will change. Urban living might be nice, but it is now becoming a pay to play lifestyle. If you want to live in a major urban center, with a high % of lower income folks, with a government that continues the cycly of corruption and cronyism, it is going to cost you.

The only good thing I see is that most of us who live outside the People's Republic of Marion Co. now have plenty factual information to pretty much kill any future "regional tax." It is not my fault Bart and his buddies decided to use .5% food and beverage tax we send him on futbaw! and meeting space.

Anonymous said...


The Democrat Machine has taken over Indianapolis!

Anonymous said...

So according to miller we should aspire to be the highest taxed city? Another democratic hack wasting good air. He is a good union boy though, helped get us that 0% raise they are all taling about funding. By the way how do you fund 0?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone on the CCC Asked the other taxing units to maybe think about cutting any INCREASE they have proposed ?

Did any taxing unto increase their tax by more than the rate of inflation ?

Pike Voter

Anonymous said...

I think the most thought provoking comment came for the Reverend who is on S. Meridian. He clearly points out that people in tht neck of the woods, if they make 25K, will lose another 125 dollars on the TAX INCREASE.

Now when I moved to this city 7 years ago I was making 25K and I watched every penny. The company I work for hires people for wages UNDER $10 an hour, gas is $3 a gallon, milk is creeping up and all food items are increasing because of the cost of fuel and shipping involved. HOW ARE PEOPLE MAKING THIS GOING TO MAKE IT?

BTW, the crowd is emotional, but is it necessary to have one armed sheriff for every CITIZEN? Honestly, what a POLICE STATE!

I am beginning to think I made the biggest mistake of my life by buying a home within in Marion County. Bart and the gang are not interested in making this a better place for the citizens, only their good old boys and lining thier pockets.

I am going to always be carrying voter registration forms with me from now on. It is time for these people, who have no idea how the control their spending to go.

I do have one question, when they say they "LOOK" where to cut, are they just looking at numbers on a page or are they actually going out and counting heads and seeing what work is or isn't not in fact getting done.

Sorry, you pissed this citizen off big time CCC. I pay my taxes and I vote! So will others.

Anonymous said...

It was corruption & Machine politics that caused this and that is what is responsible for the tax increase....

The Machine thought they could say 'public safety', but the public knows the criminals are on the loose, prosecutor will NOT file criminal charges when appropriate (only when he has to), there are not enough police, and it's getting worse!

We also see our TAX dollars feeding The Machine & its sources such as the Irsay family and Simon family, giving them perks, incentives, tax dollars and city property.

The Machine must go!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes that there was EVER any cost savings to be had with the police consolidation is a gullible goof. Every city the committee visited when "studying" the possible consolidation told them that there were no cost savings, especially not in the first few years. Continuing to pretend that the city saved a single penny with the fiasco they call a consolidation is like pretending the moon is made of cheese.

Hopefully the voters of Marion County will finally wake up and see their government for what it really is, and vote accordingly in November.

Anonymous said...


I cannot continue to pay TAXes for your stadium, to arrest & incarcerate your team members, and kiss the butt of your team owner!

Good riddance, Colts!

Anonymous said...

I guess the other point that was made over and over again at the meeting was that this outdated township system has got to go. The reduncancy and 67 different taxing elements HAS GOT TO GO! I know I heard that loud and clear and that was so close to happening but one state senator couldn't allow the township trustee to lose his job. Well what about all the citizens who will LOSE THEIR HOMES!!!!!

Time to vote these people out. Time to reform this system, and not with lip service but with actions. This is truly a case if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Where's Wilson? Surprisingly quiet when he knows the machine is unaccountable and screwing all of us, including him.

Anonymous said...

You do have a choice in the Mayor's race, and he needs your support in many ways. Find out more at:

Anonymous said...

Bart should be ashamed, going to the poor people (because let's face it - the people slaving away at $10 an hour jobs, please note that is more than even the NEW and IMPROVED minimum wage) are the working poor and taking money out of their pocket is shameful.

Frank Anderson talks about how he cares for "Flowers", the children of the city, but the new tax is going to take food off of their table to put in his wallet. Absoulutely pitiful!

Anonymous said...

It's worth pointing out, that police merger savings are to begin late this year...and not new money, but unspent's not the same.

If you change your hot water heater, from an inefficient one that costs $40 a month to run, and get a new one, that costs $10 a month to run, you don't necessarily have $30 in savings. It's $30 unspent. And you have to factor in the cost of the new heater. At some point soon, the lines meet, and actual savings begin to accrue.

The fuzzy math on police consolidation exists on both sides of the argument...but seems most fuzzy on the "anti" side.

That being said, the sheriff seems to be among the Center mafia who like to spend OPM on nice cars and bling. And I'm getting tired of trying to explain it.

Drive an effing marked/lighted sedan.

Anonymous said...

The Governor gave the green light for Peterson to raise our taxes when he "postponed" the property tax bills.
When the urgency of property tax issue temporarily went off the table then the Mayor got his tax increase.
Amazing that it all happened at the same time an announcement was made of yet another hotel condo developer to build a 24 story building next to the Lucas Oil Can Stadium. Another abatement on prime real estate and another bond issue are in the works.
Yea, Bart NEEDED that tax increase didn't he?
What a shell game.

Anonymous said...

I have a theory, so just stay with me for a minute. For all of those who have gone to the meetings, spoken, and watched have you noticed that it is only the people who OPPOSE their actions? No supportors. Now, it isn't because they don't care, they can sit at home and watch it stream on the internet if they don't have cable, but they have been dictated to stay home.

Why? Because if they came it would make for a LARGER crowd, and the last thing the CCC, Bart and Frankie want is any kind of crowd that would attract any more attention than it already is. They all hope the sheep who follow blindly will miss the commotion and dutifully drudge to the polls (if they are open) on election day and faithfully pull the "D".

Just something to think about.