Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Public Safety Cuts Loom As City's Budget Problems Worsen

It's difficult to figure out the exact size of Indianapolis' budget deficits. Various local news sources are reporting varying deficit sizes in the tens of millions of dollars, running as high as $60 million. Some mention a shortfall in the city's current budget, while others focus on the deficit faced in next year's budget. What appears certain is that there will be cuts made in the police and fire department budgets, even if the City continues to give away massive amounts of money to developers who contribute to the mayor's campaign committee and the CIB prepares to give tens of millions of dollars more to billionaire Herb Simon to subsidize the operations of his Indiana Pacers. And there will inevitably be more cuts in basic services like parks and libraries. Despite the hottest summer in many years, IndyParks is preparing to close its pools earlier than ever according to WTHR.

It is absolutely astonishing how the city could be contemplating deeps cuts in basic city services but continues to spend on non-essential services as if there are no budgetary concerns. The administration continues to pressure the city council to approve yet another TIF district expansion to include all of the booming areas of Mass Avenue, a move that will divert property tax dollars that would have otherwise gone to pay for schools, parks, police, fire and library services. This is only needed so the mayor can offer more public subsidies to private developers who contribute to his campaign. There was absolutely no scrutiny given to the $6.5 million Mayor Ballard gave to one of his largest campaign contributors, Ersal Ozdemir, to build a new parking garage with new retail space that will exclusively benefit Ozdemir. We now know that the rosy fiscal picture painted in the mayor's re-election campaign was total fiction. There was no honestly balanced, and it is clear that public safety is not job one for the mayor. I wouldn't be surprised at all if his next move is to propose yet another tax increase ala Bart Peterson despite his campaign promises to the contrary. And I'm still waiting for someone in the mainstream media to ask questions about why Ballard handed out double-digit pay raises to members of his staff while the city is in the midst of a budget crisis.

1 comment:

Marycatherine Barton said...

Do the Republicans or others who voted for Ballard support these double-digit pay raises for his those he favors? I most certainly don't, and didn't expect anything better from him.