Friday, July 13, 2007

More Reaction To Peterson Plan

Mayor Peterson's borrow and spend scheme to aid distressed property taxpayers in the city was met with swift criticism from his GOP opponent, Greg Ballard today. “The Mayor’s proposal is unacceptable because it neither helps homeowners now or in the future. I am offended as a taxpayer and citizen of Indianapolis that Bart Peterson’s answer to our tax crisis is more taxes and more debt,” Ballard said. “Today’s announcement was nothing more than a ‘payday loan’ for the city. The Mayor is mortgaging our future for his short term gain.”

Ballard notes that Peterson is adding another $75 million plus 20 years' worth of interest to his current proposal to increrase the income tax $90 million. “Mayor Peterson is robbing Peter to pay Paul with this proposal. Why hasn’t he proposed cuts in his own spending? Why hasn’t he asked local governments to reduce costs? Why hasn’t he asked school boards and our other taxing entities to tighten their belts?” Ballard asked. “Because our Mayor puts his government priorities first, not taxpayers. If Bart Peterson really cared about homeowners in Indianapolis, the taxpayer would be the last person asked to make a sacrifice, not the first, second, and third.”
“If elected Mayor, I promise to enact a common sense spending policy that would curb spending to reduce tax burden immediately and work with the Governor and the General Assembly on a long term solution, preferably eliminating property taxes as the primary source of local government funding.”

Rep. Jon Elrod (R) weighed in with his own opinion on Peterson's tax relief scheme. “I commend the Mayor for coming up with an idea to fight the property taxes, but I do not think that borrowing $75 million for short-term relief is a good idea,” stated Rep. Elrod. “The city is facing enough financial problems and putting them off for a couple years is what got us into this position. If the city borrowed $75 million now, it would end up paying at least double that back to the lenders. At some point, the Mayor needs to say ‘enough is enough’ and face the financial crisis." Elrod suggests Peterson use the revenues from an increased income tax exclusively to offset rising property taxes and provide permanent relief. “Owning property is not a good indicator of actual wealth; the best indicator is the amount of income a person is earning. Indiana should move away from the archaic property tax structure altogether and look at using income taxes to replace the revenue. I support completely eliminating property tax and will continue to work to move into a 21st century taxing system.”

As I thought today some more about Peterson's absurd idea of borrowing money to provide property tax relief, I couldn't help but remind myself of House Speaker Pat Bauer's absurd plan of providing temporary property tax relief which is funded by the sale of slot machine franchises to the state's two horse race tracks. Both ideas represent public policy at its worst. And both ideas have the fingerprints of self-serving lobbyists and attorneys who advise Bauer and Peterson. If Bauer and Peterson have any lessons to learn from these mistakes, it is that they both need to spend a lot more time listening to independent-thinking experts and the people who have to live with their decisions and much less time listening to people who personally profiteer off their influence peddling.

I'm beginning to get a real sense that Mayor Peterson and Marion County Democrats are increasingly concerned that the growing groundswell of public outrage over their tax and spend policies could result in the ousting of Peterson and Democratic council candidates this fall. While the idea of a little-financed, unknown Republican candidate beating Peterson this year may have seemed far fetched as recent as a few weeks ago, there has been a sea change in public opinion since property tax bills were mailed and Peterson asked for a 65% increase in the income tax. Public frustration with the city's growing crime problem was already creating unrest among the city's voters. Many political observers believe the mayor's own recent polling numbers show his re-election in doubt. They note almost daily shifts in the mayor's re-election strategy. Although the mayor has already spent heavily on TV and radio advertising, the messages put forward in those ads are not resonating with voters.

Peterson and the Democrats' unease is heightened by unprecedented grassroots efforts throughout the city, including large public protests, demanding changes to which they are ill-prepared to respond. A Black Sunday protest this weekend on Monument Circle could prove to be the largest such public protest to date. Signs have sprung up in neighborhoods throughout the city today urging homeowners to take part in the protest. The rally is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.


Wilson46201 said...

A lot of Hoosiers attend church Sunday morning...

Anonymous said...

I had some sympathy for Mr Peterson prior to his silly and obviously desperate borrowing scheme. I now understand that he is a major part of the problem and will need to go this fall.

I'll be there with my neighbors on Sunday.

Wilson46201 said...

There are zillions of schemes of various sorts to reduce tax bills next year. The immediate question is how to reduce the bite of this year's tax bills on home-owners? A deferred payment (installment plan) is one method which'll simply give taxpayers more time to scrape up the full, legal, too-high tax bill.

Peterson's idea of borrowing $75 million to cushion the "sticker-shock" of this years tax bills is a quick-fix but a realistic solution which can actually take place this year to reduce this year's tax bills.

There are all sorts of utopian, pie-in-the-sky schemes being floated by a variety of fringe politicos. Assuming any had much validity, they would all require legislative action (most likely Constitutional change too) and all would take place sometime off in the distant future.

What better immediate plans do people have to offer to solve this years tax bills?

Anonymous said...

You are right. This will be a very difficult mess to clean up, which is why I would have hoped that this incredible, univeresally acknowleged screw-up could have been foreseen and dealt with by so-called professionals who's job is is to deal with this. How about not spending far more than the tax base can sustain?

Second, freezing payments until reassessment can be comppleted in Marion county seems like a start.

Third, a special session will need to be held to come up with a 21st century tax revenue plan.

Fourth, Don't tax the middle class into oblivion.

Five, etc Don't dump this problem on future generations. We already have enought reasons for young people to move out of state.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to a Democrat to create a TAX & SPEND scheme and try to make it out as "tax relief."

All his plan does is cause the city to PAY interest (a/k/a TAX the people) to get a loan so that today's taxes appear as PAID to the taxpayer, when, in fact, they are deferred WITH INTEREST PAID.

**TAX & SPEND is what Democrats do, and they do it best! It is abhorrent!!!

How about we sell the Center Twp "Wellness Center" (former YMCA with swimming pool) to get a few million $$$, then sell the Center Twp owned building on Fall Creek PWY that includes a BAR???

-Don't worry, the Center Twp Trustee can move his car collection out of the Massachusetts Center Twp Government building and offer poor relief from that LARGE building.

How about the Democrats eliminate over a hundred PATRONAGE jobs that are not needed? ...starting with the Center Twp Trustee's office!

How about the mayor reduce his deputy mayors' salaries to the level before HE gave them a RAISE at TAXPAYER expense?

How about the Mayor eliminate the Director & Asst. Director of Public Safety jobs (patronage, do-nothing job with a city cars & BIG salaries; this would save over $250,000.00 in salary, benefit, vehicle, gas)?

Why doesn't the Mayor take the take-home cars away from City Councilmen Vern Brown & Monroe Gray? They have no responsibility that requires a take-home car!

Anonymous said...

There are all sorts of utopian, pie-in-the-sky schemes being floated by a variety of fringe politicos.

David O. (can't spell his last name) had a great plan that would cap a person's property tax at their income level. Therefore, retired folks that live in their life home that is now worth $600K would only be responsible for an amount of tax based on a % of their fixed income. I don't call this "pie-in-the-sky." It could be passed in a special session and is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I have a wild idea:

Why doesn't the mayor start charging the Mexican government fair-market rent for the space they use at Union Station?

Wilson46201 said...

FYI: reassessments are actually done by commercial "outside" companies that specialize in such massive undertakings. Local Assessors and their small staffs simply cant perform these rare and large projects. Needless to say, reassessments arent cheap either. Nor are they speedy!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, If we didn't have a goof Democrat Assessor, we wouldn't be in this mess. Not only did he screw this up terribly (actually performing the Democrat TAX & SPEND dream perfectly), but now we TAXPAYERS have to pay for his litigation expenses to defend the law suit WE TAXPAYERS filed against him!

Wilson46201 said...

The Center Township reassessment was done under the leadership of the PREVIOUS Center Township Assessor who'd been in office for 24 years. Akers merely signed off on those results after he took office on January 1st, 2007.

Anonymous said...

Dysfunction and obfuscation, meet Wilson. Defending an indefensible position. Makes me dizzy...

Center Township voters had a choice last May, to select a qualified, certified appraiser. The Center Township gulag didn't like her, because they couldn't control her, and they backed Mr. Akers. Who had ZERO property experience. NONE whatsoever.

He also had the uncommon bad sense to resist resigning his IPS janitorial job for weeks after he took over as Center assessor in January. Which should give you some idea of his objectivity and altruism. Public service indeed.

All township assessors ratified, this spring, the work (largely) done by their predecessors. It's all a house of cards; work performed by underpaid and underqualified staff persons.

The work product is sloppy, albeit unintended...inconsistency rules.

One more reason we need to dump this insane township government system. It costs money, regardles show some claim it's "only" 1.5% of the total bill, or some such nonsense. It's still millions across the county.

One elected county assessor, overseeing professionally-done assessments...will be expensive, but if we continue this insane and unconstitutional property tax system, it is the only way to go.

Anonymous said...

One of the brightest and best public servants in the county, Dr. Eugene White, just did his taxpayers a favor by delaying implementation of the next phase of IPS bonds. Untl this mess can be sorted out.

May his tribe multiply. IPS is hopelessly broken, but he's giving it the old college try, and he's sensitive to his patrons.

God bless him.

Are you listening, Reps. Bosma, Bauer, et al? Sens. Miller, Howard, et al? Mitch? Bart?

Here's a public servant who "gets" it.

Wilson46201 said...

The Township Assessors have long been a part of county government - not a part of township government. Their budget is a part of the county budget - they report to the City-County Council, not the Township Board.

Elected assessors are managers, not working appraisers as such. Assessors/appraisers are their hired employees or contractual workers. Akers has long had managerial experience with a very large staff - his new group of workers is quite small comparatively.

Most Hoosier Township Assessors work part-time -- elected officials dont punch a timeclock - they have to perform to meet statutory requirements and voter satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what, we need to ELIMINATE township government in the Consolidated City!

Townships may be OK in rural areas, but all they do in a Consolidated City is create corruption & patronage, and TAXES!

There is ABSOLUTELY no need for any Township government in Indianapolis!

If we sold those Center Twp-owned buildings (yes, one has a BAR in it) and FIRED the unnecessary patronage employees, the TAXPAYERS would have a savings and return of several million dollars, which could be used to hire police, build a jail, or lower taxes!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, will you stick to the point?

You just try to BLOW SMOKE on the topic at hand. You keep trying to defend the indefensible!

TAX & SPEND is all the Democrats want, at the county or township level, it doesn't matter...because they are all part of "The Machine".

That's why the BAR, 300 East, is in a TAXPAYER owned GOVERNMENT building!

Remember, Wilson, Monroe Gray told the press (with great arrogance) that he "does not know" what his wife (part owner) does....and, as President of the City-County Council, his Majority Leader's wife, just happens to be the JUDGE who grant the variance to allow the BAR!

Oh, The Machine also granted the BAR to have its parking lot on city park property, removing an inner-city playground.

Anonymous said...

7:42 is spot-on.

And once again, Wilson defends a ridiculous system, primarily because it's inhabited mostly by Democrats.

A more simple system, without layers, is one county-wide assessor overseeing a profesionally-done process. And the hired staff could perform spot checks on property to make sure the hired appraisers are doing their jobs correctly. It'll happen--the current township system is rife with incompetence, and taxpayers will no longer tolerate it. Incompetence is costly.

The hardest part of that system, would be the initial gathering/upload of information.

Are you aware, for instance, that in one northern township, until 2002, there was a gap of at least two decades of non-noted room additions, garages, etc.?

Now, that township links building permits to the assessment process. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of remodels not on the records.

Which will never, ever get us to the point we need to be: equity among properties, consistency.

And Center,'s even worse.

By the way, oversight of 150 janitors, while their jobs are important, is nothing compared to oversight of thousands of tax parcels.

Not even close.

And that's pre-supposing Akers is qualified. WhHch he's not.

Lord help us all.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, it's the Democrat COUNTY Assessor that WE TAXPAYERS are suing for incompetence, and WE TAXPAYERS are paying for his legal counsel....anything wrong with this picture?

Wilson46201 said...

Elected officials often have to deal for nutty and frivolous lawsuits against them at taxpayer expense. It's a part of the job. Even for Republicans...

The issue of the *B*A*R* was dealt with in multiple public hearings and an election by the voters. Give it a rest! It's quite legal despite what a few nutterballs may still imagine.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, I'm NOT giving it a rest. (You, sir, are a waste.)

WE TAXPAYERS are suing the Democrat Assessor for incompetence, and WE TAXPAYERS are paying for his legal counsel....anything wrong with this picture? (Said again)

Wilson, are you suggesting that the TAXPAYER'S class-action lawsuit is 'frivolous'? With the car dealership valued far less than a nearby home? With a house valued more than a nearby grocery store lot?

No, Wilson, it is not frivolous! It is calling out incompetence! The Democrat is incompetent, was told his assessment is wrong, yet did nothing to correct it. He was basing his malfeasance on there being enough TAX & SPEND Democrats, like you, to blow smoke and confuse people.

The law suit received a change of venue and is valid.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Wilson, just because it is legal, does NOT make it right!

Why is there a BAR in a government building?

Why doesn't the White House or Congress have a tavern? -I guess I have to spell it out: Because it is WRONG! Taxpayers do not provide bars in government buildings.

Government should have NOTHING to do with bars! That is a private enterprise LICENSED and regulated by the government.

You cannot make an excuse for this one, Wilson!

Anonymous said...

8:01, 'Wilson', Did I understand you right?

Are you admitting that Indianapolis is not the political Machine that Chicago was in the 1960's & 70's?

Wasn't the bar found legal after The Machine fixed the decisions?

Wasn't the Judge that granted the variance, the WIFE of the City-Council Majority leader?

Wasn't one of the owners of the bar the WIFE of the City-Council President? Didn't I read that the City-Council President told a reporter that he 'doesn't know' about his wife's ventures???????

This is Machine politics, and smells of corruption!


P. S. In the Old Chicago Machine, how many corrupt politicians went to jail?

P. P. S. S. Isn't the former Chicago City Council President under indictment today? Was he called "Fast Eddie"?

P. P. P. S. S. S. Maybe the U. S. Attorney knows what to do, Wilson!

Wilson46201 said...

There are bars in the Indianapolis Airport in government owned buildings. There are bars on the IUPUI campus in government owned buildings. There is a bar in Union Station which is government owned. There is a bar in the Ronald Reagan Building in DC government owned. None of these are actually operated by government but merely tenants who pay rent, just as in Center Township.

As I've said before, last year the feeble GOP candidates in Center Township made this restaurant their major issue but they were defeated by the voters by better than 3-to-1. But some folk are still "The Sorest Losers of 2006"...

Simple solution: if you still dont like the restaurant, boycott it! I doubt if you'll ever be missed...

Anonymous said...

8:46 has a good point!

Wasn't the bar in the Center Twp-owned building found legal after "The Machine" fixed the decisions?

Was the wife of the city-council majority leader really the Judge who granted the variance?

Wow! This stinks!

Wilson, are you a relative, too? -or do you just hold a make-work, do-nothing PATRONAGE job? -I know, you are The Machine's spokesman, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog, but I have to admit. Just reading this makes Wilson look like an operative for the DNC.

Anonymous said...

5:57 Is the Mexican government getting FREE space at a city building? Why?

-I especially want to know since Wishard Hospital has so many Mexicans in the waiting room, not paying for medical treatment...and so many Mexicans sit in the jail getting free food & medical care without paying taxes, and causing many (if not most) of the uninsured car crashes in the city!

Why is our mayor catering to these criminals/freeloaders/invaders from another country?

Anonymous said...

Wilson: Do you work for a living, or receive welfare?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Wilson46201 said...

Why should I answer any personal questions from a nosy anonymous nobody who is ashamed to use her own name? Snooping while hiding behind a false face? It seems kinda underhanded, sneaky and wrong...

Of course, this thread is about property tax solutions, not me like some trifling busybodies are trying to divert it off to.

Anonymous said...

He is a nuisance that derails the the discussion of what Gary posts. As a result, the subject at hand goes on to another subject. Wilson does this on every board I read.
He's ruining your blog Gary.

Anonymous said...

Actually 10:14 it is the partisan hacks on both sides of the aisle that make this blog tiresome to read. Gary calls out "government behaving badly" on both sides of the aisle, then we have to read tedious posts by Wilson claiming the Dems aren't at fault, defending them at all costs and a bazillion anonymous Faux News trolls spewing "tax and spend" Democrats are at fault for EVERYTHING.

We have painfully few politicians Rep. or Dem that understand that huge changes need to be made in our Indiana government and way to many voters that are to busy voting party lines like they are watching a freaking football game.
Wake up people....both sides have sold "the people" out and corporations and lobbyists have won this round. If we do not change our mindset, this situation will never change.

Anonymous said...

5:57 If the Mexican Government is getting free rent at a city-owned building that means that my TAX money is paying for the expenses of the Mexican Government!!!!!!!

I do not live in Mexico and my tax money should not be going to give their government office space!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea Wilson. Identify all of Peterson's over-paid butt kissers making over $75k a year from public money and lay them off. The public cannot afford it.