Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tully Proves Once Again That He's Nothing But A Tool For The Downtown Mafia

For every Tim Evans' story that inspires you to think that there is still a little hope for the Indianapolis Star, there are at least twenty reasons why the Star isn't worth the price of the subscription. To remove any doubt, the paper's political columnist turns in another butt-kissing column for the benefit of the downtown mafia--that's the pay-to-play contractors and developers who bankroll the politicians' campaigns and operate our government for their own personal benefit with damning consequences to everyone else. Tax increment finance districts (TIFs) have become the tool of choice for the downtown mafia to accomplish their dirty deeds. It's not enough that the dozens of TIFs that they've already created, including vast areas of downtown, consume more than 11% of the property tax base and approximately $100 million in property tax revenues that are diverted to a slush fund controlled by the Mayor. They still demand more, even as we struggle to fund essential services, including our schools, police, fire and parks.

Matt Tully's column today endorsing creation of a midtown TIF that captures large swaths of property on the city's northside, including a new parking garage and retail project financed with $6.5 million of city tax dollars for the exclusive benefit of its owner, Ersal Ozdemir, one of Mayor Ballard's largest pay-to-play benefactors who lives in a swanky Carmel home, would be laughable if not so serious. To support the creation of this latest TIF, Tully turns to a real estate developer, Chuck Cagann of Mansur Real Estate Estate Development. "Our idea is to try to reverse the problems neighborhoods are seeing before it's too late, and before everything has bottomed out," said Chuck Cagann, a Midtown leader. No, your idea, Chuck, is to create yet another large pool of tax dollars that are available to finance new development projects on the backs of our schools and other taxing districts that will be deprived of much-needed property tax revenues. He says they want to redevelop Tarkington Park, but for every dollar diverted to benefit that city park there will be fewer dollars available to support other city parks that rely on those precious property tax dollars. Tully's assertion that the new TIF goes "hand-in-hand with initiatives to improve the quality of schools and mass transit" is laughable. Tully's baseless reporting is either the result of being too lazy to read the TIF study on which an Indianapolis City-County Council task force just completed work, or an indication that he's so embedded with the downtown mafia that he can no longer write informed columns that discerning readers expect from a major daily newspaper. Either way it's just plain sad.

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