Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Star: Council Rushed Income Tax Vote

Star editorial writers criticize the City-County Council for failing to take more time to consider Mayor Bart Peterson's 65% increase in the county option income tax. The editorial reads, in part:

Those who look at issues from a big picture perspective had to be disappointed by the City-County Council's decision Monday night to raise county taxes by 65 percent.

If ever an issue deserved a timeout for further review, this was it.

Mayor Bart Peterson and a narrow majority of the City-County Council treated the income tax increase with a sense of urgency that was unnecessary considering the intense public interest in the proposal.

It is an important issue, but it did not have to be decided without a full airing of taxpayers' concerns. Many citizens who attended Monday's meeting were essentially ignored.

By negotiating an extension of the Aug. 1 deadline with the state, or by delaying the vote until next week, Peterson could have had more time to discuss his proposal with taxpayers. He would have also opened the door to suggestions from the expert panels being put together by Gov. Mitch Daniels. He might even have heard useful suggestions on how to reduce the size of the increases.

Rather than take full advantage of an exceptional opportunity to make long-needed reforms, the mayor and council rushed through a huge income tax increase to raise $90 million to cover public safety expenses.

In doing so, the mayor and council missed out on possible synergies with the state panels on the income tax and related issues. What other options or approaches could the city have used to address public safety challenges? What else could have been done to avoid an income tax hike that will hurt some as badly as the property tax hikes?

The Star's editors also have a couple of good suggestions at which the governor's newly-appointed commission might want to take a look. One is a suggestion the state "ban police and firefighters from serving on public boards that oversee their agency's budgets and operations." Better yet, why doesn't Indiana simply enforce its own constitution, which provides: "no person, charged with official duties under one of these departments, shall exercise any of the functions of another." An analysis I conducted after the May primary of the current crop of candidates for city-county council in both parties led me to conclude that the make-up of our council could easily become totally dominated by government workers. It is conceivable that at least 50% of the members after this November's election will consist of police officers, firefighters or other government employees. This has got to stop.

Secondly, the Star editorial writers suggest there be a study on the impact higher property taxes and income taxes in Marion Co. has on the migration of folks into the suburban counties. You don't have to study that problem. You can see it happening.

Matt Tully expresses his disapproval over the conduct of Monday night's city-county council meeting here. As for Tully's lack of blog postings lately, he explains he's taking a summer vacation while working on another project. "[M]y non-column time this summer is being dedicated to a project we hope will appear in the newspaper this September," he writes. As for Expresso, the last post there was made June 8 by Gary Varvel. The blog site used to be peppered with provocative posts by Star editorial writer RiShawn Biddle. What happened to Biddle? Does he still work for the Star? It's unusual for him to be so quiet.


Anonymous said...

Re your comment on Espresso: I emailed the Star a week ago and asked why no one posted on it. No response. Also asked about R. Biddle. Also no response.

Anonymous said...

Why not publish this editorial prior to the vote?

Anonymous said...

I was at that meeting and was utterly appalled at the lack of respect from certain members of the council to the public they are appointed to serve. We don't serve them, they serve (obey) us.

Monroe Gray, for instance, completely IGNORED his constituents in District #8. We were there in force, took time away from our lives to attend, and make our wishes known. It was insulting to be treated with no regard whatsoever from our elected representative. Worse, we were subjected to silencing by Aaron Haith, who as far as the lawyers I've consulted thus far, has no jurisdiction to serve as a Sargent of Arms at Council meetings.

Not only that, but residents in Monroe Gray's district call and write only to get no response from Monroe Gray.

It is SHAMEFUL that our elected councilperson voted in direct opposition to the wishes of the people in district #8, most of whom are far more educated than he.

Monroe Gray will be the first councilperson to be publicly humiliated in my Yard of Shame.

I am not having this.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Melyssa regarding lack of respect. This council's leadership, in particular, except for Ms. Sanders, has shown remarkable disrespect for our intellegence and common sense. Not to mention their complete lack of common courtesy.

They love power.. They were out of power a long time. They're also not rocket scientists, by any stretch.

But here's the rub about this COIT increase, love it or hate it: If the collection was to become effective 10-1-07, the council had to act by 8-1-07 to allow for the collection mechanism to be put in place.

As for the Star's editorial, their Monday-morning QB routine is getting old. This editorial was written by RiShawn, I'd bet...trying to suck up to the widespread taxpayer anger, which is the majority. While ignoring the mechanics of a new tax.

It's populist politics of the old school, not journalism, and it sux.

Anonymous said...

i have written letters and emailed concilor gray several times myself. i have never received a response from him either. i was at the finance committee meetings and was taken aback by his difficulty in presenting his proposal on the property tax relief. while i know that the debacle regarding his conflict of interest was smoothed over, it is still a major concern and blemish on the council. he has got to go. is there any chance webber can defeat him? this district would seem to be heavily democrat. how on earth did he get elected council president.

Anonymous said...

-Remember the Star also did an editorial that said illegal aliens are not criminals (laugh)!

The last time I saw the U. S. Code it said otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"A grown man wore a chicken suit to Monday's City-County Council meeting. The fact that a 6-foot-tall, yellow-feathered protester wasn't a disruption tells you a lot about how embarrassing council meetings have become."


When has the Chicken disrupted any meeting?

Tully's right on this one. The Chicken was more cordial than most council members were. That said Brown had it coming.

Tully what makes you think the Chicken is male?

Anonymous said...

I cna take the Chicken Suit thing. I support Bart, but I think the Chicken Suit is funny. I think he does, too, by the way.

But the "Bart Lies" stuff is nonsense, and doesn't get traction much of anyplace.

Civility gains crossover votes. Even if, and ESPECIALLY when, the Council president and Majority Leader are anything but civil.

If you're civil, not shouting in meeting, etc., your attitude and demeanor carry the day in contrast.

Try it. You might be surprised.

Anonymous said...


By Devon Scott

Governor Mitch Daniels is making some moves to deal with the property tax crisis and it could mean even higher income taxes in Marion County, as a result.

Daniels Wednesday authorized a two month extension on the deadline for counties to use the County Option Income Tax, which could offset property taxes in many cases. The original deadline was August 1st and it's now been moved to October 1st.


To me the council could have waited a month or so since the property was frozen at 2006 levels. They could have seen what was going to happen with the state and then propose some sort of tax increase if it was still needed.

I think Mrs. Sanders said in a meeting they were not sure if the Gov. change ofdate was legal so they had to do it now.

My REAL question is if the mayor gets all he wants from the state to take over the cost of child welfare and he gets the townships combined can we DECREASE the COIT sine we now have more $'s inthe budget from tehfreed up expenses.

Pike Voter

Anonymous said...

"But the "Bart Lies" stuff is nonsense, and doesn't get traction much of anyplace."

That's odd, we are constantly running out of bumper stickers and our yard signs are getting very low. We had to order a new batch. Also tee shirts are hot, we can't go anywhere without someone approaching and wanting one. Hats will be in soon.

Peterson can put as much misinformation on the streets as he wants. The "BART LIES!" guys are here until November.

To get your sticker, sign or shirt visit, Click the donation button.

Anonymous said...

If people didn't shout out at that meeting, we would not have made the headlines.

I'm glad The People did and I encourage them to continue to stand up for what is rightfully theirs to command.

Attention leaders: When I run out of money, I have a yard sale.

Attention Bart: When businesses get in dire straights, they start firing middle management and cutting back perks (like company cars).

Anonymous said...

Tulley and the Star have no credibility. They are now a left wing rag that I use to line the bottom of my birdcage. The only reason they wrote that editorial is to try and do damage control for Bart. If they were a real newspaper they would have asked and would still be asking tough questions such as "Where is the savings from police CONsolidation?" They lose credibility when they continue to give him a pass for handing in last years budget that had blank pages and it was still passed.

Anonymous said...

So you're running out of bumper stickers, and that's the reason the "Bart Lies!" campaign is working so well? Please.

Why is it, I've not seen any sticker on on a car bumper, and I put 500-600 miles a week on my car, all over town? I see lots of clever yard signs and bumper stickers for all kinds of causes. (Current favorite: "My son is an honor student. My President is a moron.")

I have seen the t-shirts. At public meetings.

The point of the earlier comment was, if you want to make a point, try civility. I wouldn't call my worst enemy a liar. Unless I had proof.

And you have no proof that he lied. You strongly disagree. So be it. So knock it off already. You're losing cerdiblity with the people you're trying to convert. Your questions and points speak for themselves--they're strong. Quit the verbal jousting. It does nothing.

Are you TRYING to become the Republican Wilson? I didn't think so.

Steele's resignation, paritcularly if accompanied by strong statements, is powerful. Try running with that for awhile. "Bart Lies" is just foolish.

Wilson46201 said...

Sadly, the profound ideological thinkers of the contemporary Republican Party seem to be Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and a Fat Yellow Chicken.

Lincoln, Harding and Lugar wept.

Anonymous said...

The last post was the smartest, best one he's ever done.

Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't call my worst enemy a liar. Unless I had proof."

Peterson ran on a platform that he was against consolation. That alone is reason to call him a liar. The fact that he twists the numbers of police officers is proof in the eyes of some.
You die hard liberals can't see a liar if they were starring you in the face. I recall "I didn't have sex with that woman", you libs took the bait.

Wilson46201 said...

You reactionaries deliberately lie when you misquote his factually and legally accurate statement "I did not have sexual relations with that woman...". Sexual relations is defined legally as penile/vaginal coitus which not even Ken Starr ever claimed.

But to smear a President, you wingers lie about verifiable facts. Review the videotape and get your story straight!

Anonymous said...

"Why is it, I've not seen any sticker on on a car bumper, and I put 500-600 miles a week on my car, all over town?"

Get your head out of your ass. You'll eventually see one.

"Lincoln, Harding and Lugar wept."

Lugar is a f**king RINO!

Anonymous said...

"Sexual relations is defined legally as penile/vaginal coitus"

Well look at this. A guy whose idea of sex is penile/assus coitus or penile/mouthus coitus is telling US about sexual relations?

That's rich.