Thursday, October 06, 2011

Which Candidate For Mayor Will Admit A Tax Increase Is Coming?

Fellow blogger Pat Andrews is about the only person in Indianapolis who is on top of the city budget. You certainly can't be impressed by the deliberations that have taken place at budget hearings to date which have been aired on WCTY. Forget the "honestly balanced budgets" meme. What is clear is that there is a structural imbalance between revenues and expenditures that can only be corrected by massive budget cuts or a tax increase. Because I'm convinced that neither Mayor Greg Ballard nor Melina Kennedy will opt for massive budget cuts if either is elected to lead the city the next four years, that means a significant tax increase is just around the corner.

Andrews' analysis of the 2012 budget currently being debated by the City-County Council finds a shortfall of $64 million between proposed expenditures and anticipated revenues. Only through a series of budget gimmicks, which Andrews does a good job explaining here, is the proposed budget made to appear balanced. The situation after 2012 will rapidly deteriorate unless the economy dramatically turns around. Abdul Hakim Shabazz, an unabashed cheerleader for Ballard's re-election, has made much of the fact that hardly anyone is showing up at the budget hearings to offer public testimony as evidence of how well the city's finances are being managed under the current administration. The truth is that none of our current elected officials are willing to discuss this problem candidly and openly prior to the November election. To hear them talk, you would have no idea the city is facing a severe financial strain next year that is probably worse than that faced four years ago, the last time the city enacted a major tax increase. You can bet that come January, regardless of who is in charge of the city, there will be plenty of frank talk about what has to be done from the folks who will feel safe knowing that they won't have to face voters for another four years.

1 comment:

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks Gary, for your kind remarks.

The fan and the poop are getting closer and closer together.

With the State holding income tax revenues steady (banking the recovering revenue amounts) for the next few years, and with real estate values still in the toilet, I can't see a way to maintain the spending in 2013. They can rob the downtown TIF again, for partial relief. They can begin to use money from the RebuildIndy fund - which would cause the 30 year increase in water and sewer rates to be spent on operating expenses and not even on things that might last 15 years.

Having said that, I must also note that without general assembly authorization, the City cannot raise any taxes.