Saturday, October 10, 2009

Special Election For Wishard Referendum Will Cost $24 Per Vote

WRTV's Norm Cox logs a report on the costly nature of the November 3 special election to decide four public questions, including the county-wide Wishard referendum and three school bond issues. With turnout expected to be less than 10%, the $1.2 million cost for conducting the election will cost taxpayers approximately $24 for every vote cast. Some voters wondered to Cox why the county-wide vote on the more than $700 million bond issue for a proposed new county hospital backed by property tax levies couldn't have waited until the regularly-scheduled May primary. HHC CEO Matt Gutwein cancelled an interview with Cox to discuss the referendum's cost at the last minute.

It is my strong belief that the HHC's real reason for pushing this referendum in a special election was so it could provide as little time as possible for the opposition to wage a fight against the referendum it has been secretly planning for at least the past two years. Further, the HHC is banking on a low voter turnout to work in its favor. HHC is using taxpayer resources to lobby its more than 4,000 workers to go out and vote for the Wishard referendum. It's even setting up promotional booths inside the county-owned facilities to advocate hospital visitors to vote for the referendum's passage. HHC got its lobbyists to convince lawmakers to sneak the referendum language into the state budget during the June special session of the legislature. No public hearings were ever held on the legislative proposal. Mayor Ballard also broke government ethics rules when he sent an e-mail to all city-county workers advocating for the Wishard referendum. Ballard referred to the referendum as a "historic special election" and falsely claimed the new hospital would not be paid for by taxpayers. Ballard enticed government workers with a free vacation day if they pledged to work the polls.

I have more to report on Deborah "I'm just a volunteer" Daniels, who has been meeting with various Marion County GOP clubs this month to advocate for passage of the Wishard referendum. Daniels describes herself as a volunteer representing the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee. What Daniels isn't telling her audiences is that her law firm, Krieg DeVault, is paid to perform legal services for the Health & Hospital Corporation, including work lobbying the state legislature on its behalf. According to information Indianapolis Taxpayers PAC Chairman Carl Moldthan obtained from a public records request, Daniels' law firm has been paid about a quarter of a million dollars this year by HHC for its legal work. Now that's the kind of volunteer work I would like to have. Wouldn't you?

UPDATE: I see that IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz is using the resources of his public university to advocate for the passage of the referendum as well. Here's a posting on the university's website. I'm told Bantz also sent an e-mail to all university employees containing a similar pro-Wishard referndum message. As you can see, your taxpayer dollars are being illegally used to finance the campaign for passage of this referendum. HHC is doing it, Mayor Ballard is doing it and now IUPUI is doing it.


Blog Admin said...

As a student at IUPUI, I can verify that we all got an e-mail from the Chancellor. It's the exact same as the newsletter you linked to. I imagine it's also the same that employees got too.
The ironic part of all this, at least from my perspective, is this referendum would pass if they were honest and open about everything (tax increases, etc...). So why they're pushing it through in such a hush-hush way confuses me greatly.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Why is GIPC involved in this?

IS - maybe because if they tell the truth, it would be harder to pass, or might even fail.

Better to surprise the taxpayers later. Hope the Mayor and GIPC and the Chamber and the Star come and stand before the public for their comeupence when the tax increase hits the fan. I don't want to hear a single, "but Gutwein said...". They are bright enough to know what securing bonds with property tax revenues means.

Gary R. Welsh said...

GIPC is a taxpayer-funded nonprofit housed in our own City-County Building. It is a tool of the elite insiders and always has been. It's the organization they use to cook up deals to put our taxpayer dollars into their greedy hands.

Jon E. Easter said...

Do you want the election or not? In the old days, this would be a done deal. It would have been a petition battle and it never would have come in front of voters.

Because we now have this election, you can go to the polls and vote down this referendum.

You have the right to do that. Your side also has the right to organize and make yoru arguments heard. Beyond the blogosphere, I'm not hearing it.

So, why gripe about how much the election is going to cost when it was the "taxers" that brought forth this entire referendum thing in the first place.