Monday, November 19, 2007

State Democrats Accuse Ballard of Flip-Flopping On Property Taxes

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker is accusing Mayor-elect Greg Ballard of flip-flopping on property taxes before he even takes office. The issue is over Ballard's support during the campaign for a statewide repeal of the property tax. Lately, Ballard concedes a statewide repeal is not doable in light of opposition to a repeal from the Kenley Commission and Gov. Mitch Daniels. Ballard has expressed support for Gov. Daniels' plan to reduce property taxes by one-third by increasing the sales tax and shifting some local costs to the state, such as child welfare costs.

Fox 59 News attempted to get a response from Ballard's transition team to Parker's claim that Ballard has flip-flopped on the property tax issue. According to Fox 59 News, Ballard's transition team declined to respond to the charge. I think it's a mistake on Ballard's part not to respond. The last thing he wants the public to perceive is that he is retreating from his pledge to support a repeal of the property tax before he even takes office. Given the position of the Kenley Commission and Gov. Daniels, I agree it is a real uphill battle to achieve a victory on repealing the property tax. However, Ballard should not underestimate the impact of his own victory, not to mention the large number of lawmakers who were already on record in support of a repeal of the property tax. Those guys at the State House were mortified by the outcome of Indianapolis' mayoral election. They know they must deliver real and meaningful changes on property taxes or risk the same fate voters dealt Mayor Peterson.

I know a lot of Ballard's supporters were upset when I criticized the make-up of his transition team, but this is exactly what I was concerned would happen once the insiders who had nothing to do with his election seized control of his transition team. Most of those people were not a part of the property tax protest movement these past six months, and many of them scoff at the idea of repealing property taxes. Most of them had some role in one way or another in past failed efforts to reform Indiana's broken property tax system and simply aren't agents of change. It is unfortunate if the political insiders have already convinced our Mayor-elect his election victory really didn't mean what those of us who actually supported his campaign understood it meant. It is simply wrong to concede defeat on one of your most important campaign platforms before you've even taken office and tried to get it done. Mayor-elect Ballard needs to make clear he isn't conceding anything at this point.

On another note, Mayor-elect Ballard will have his first one-on-one meeting with Mayor Bart Peterson since the election to discuss transition items tomorrow morning.


Anonymous said...

He had better have open and concerned advisors or he is toast.
The public are in no mood for traditional political games. Come straight out with it.

Anonymous said...

His transition team is mae up of smooth talking idiots who are out for themselves.

Wtch your back, Mr. Ballard!
There is a (proverbial)knife coming your way from the people you are trusting the most!

Anonymous said...

Instant response teams were (largely) invented in the first Clinton campaign. You know, the one with the mantra "It's the economy, stupid!"

Love him or loathe him, Bill Clinton assembled a crackerjack political machine.

Ballard, on a smaller scale, needs to respond at once. With two words:

"Sore loser."

Taking the dignified approach won't work with this crowd. They're like those little dustmop dogs that yap at your heels constantly for no reason whatsoever. Every once in a while, they need a newspaper smack on the nose. Or they'll yap until they collapse.

Annoying, yeah. But they're dealing with a loss. Call it our for what it is, Mayor-elect Ballard. Quick, simple. A surgical strike.

The athletic competition equivalent: "Scoreboard." As long as Ballard says it without mallice, there is no effective Democratic comeback.

Wilson46201 said...

So Ballard really had no idea whatsoever how to deal with the property tax kerfuffle during his election campaign? He had to wait until Daniels could cobble together something?

Anonymous said...


I certainly think that those who are now suggesting that Mayor Ballard did not campaign on the platform that he would (if elected) use his position to lobby the State to repeal property taxes are being very disingenuous (particularly the suggestion that this was some personal opinion and not a pledge to use the office of Mayor to push the repeal idea). Mayor Ballard did indeed make that argument and should do what he said he would do- i.e. advocate for the Indy residents who got smashed by increases due to the STATE formula.

However, I certainly don't have a problem with the Mayor also making clear that while he will advocate, the final decision is in the hands of the legislature and the Governor. Anyone who is being honest (and not blinded by partisanship) would have to admit that many of former Mayor Peterson's proposals (some of which Ballard has agreed with) were blocked by the legislature notwithstanding Mayor Peterson's efforts to lobby the state. Mayor Ballard will undoubtably face the same problem- what he may want for the city- when it requires state action- he may not get because of a number of reasons- entranched interests at the state level and just plain old politics to name a few.

Mayor Ballard clearly tapped into a strongly felt dissatisfaction and, as a candidate not controlled by the typical R party powers, was free to propose and support many things that had the R County and State Parties actually been involved in running his campaign, they would never have allowed. That said, I think he needs to make sure those same people understand that had he ran on a platform of "I support Gov. Daniels property tax reform plan", he very well might not have won.

The political reality is that Daniels and the legislature will not entertain an all out property tax repeal, I have no problem with Ballard saying as much, but he should demand at least a real hearing on the idea. Just my view of it.

garyj said...

Wilson, can't you just wish him good luck and then, when he fails, (which he won't, but I'll appease your sense future telling), then you can say, "I TOLD YOU SO!!!!

I told you Peterson would lose and you have yet to admit I was right!

Anonymous said...

you Democrats held the offices for 8 years and couldn't straighten out the mess in the county's budget.

Mr. Ballard has not been sworn in yet, and you have begun to dig ditches for him already.

Surprise win on November 6th, get over it! The people voted out your incumbent councillors as well.

No more Peterson Plan with Ghetto Mafia backing.

don't worry Mr. Ballard will be a very fine mayor for this city and you need not worry about his agenda.

Anonymous said...


I really admire your stance on 1st Amendment freedom by allowing Wilson to continue to post on your blog and let the people sort it out for themselves in their own minds.

It is far more than his champion, Jen Wagner, allows on the TDW blog.

Please always keep your forum free for ALL people from all sides to express themselves...even Wilson. I for one, appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I've said this on other blogs, but I might as well say it here: just because Ballard won, doesn't mean those who support him have to be poor winners.

How you treat people when you are victorious says a lot about you. You may not like Wilson or others who post here, but you shouldn't gloat about the victory. Just say, "he won" and move on.

Anything else is just rude.


Anonymous said...

You can protest the current property tax system and the absurd increases and at the same time realize that total repeal is unrealistic and unwise. The Mayor-elect is being very smart and wise to wait and see what the legislature will do. You are right, Gary, that his election sent a very loud, clear message that taxes are too high, but in Indiana, we don't have referenda, we have a republic.

Let me say, again, that you display very little confidence in Ballard's ability to be his own man. You seem to think that he's weak and will be subject to the whims of some cabal of big firm lawyers who are "the man behind the curtain." I think he's tougher than you think.

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 6:32, I only know what I read and hear. And on that, I'm very concerned to say the least at this point.

Anonymous said...

Poor Wilson. Rep. Mealticket is ill and on her way out. Mealticket Jr. is going to have a tough time ascending to the throne. Mayor Mealticket and his minions got slaughtered. Now who's going to tell him what to think and what to say? Whose toady will he be now? He might actualy have to develop an independent thought? Alack!!

Anonymous said...

Ballard will become a "cog in the machine" after he sees that NO ONE is supporting his ideas.
Greg has a plan that will work, just that the people around him will not get more power or wealth from it, so they will set jim up for failure!

I say he should follow his own advice and get rid of the ones who will not conform to his plan. The voters like it, but the "power players" will not