Monday, July 15, 2013

Council Committee Delivers Middle Finger To Fountain Square Business Owners, Raises Property Taxes $1,300 On Average

In an unprecedented move, the Metropolitan & Economic Development Committee voted to raise taxes on business owners in Fountain Square over strong community opposition to the tax increase to fund an Economic Improvement District proposed by Councilor Jeff Miller, a certified member of the downtown mafia who pretends to be a Republican while constantly pushing an agenda of higher taxes and more government regulation. Although Councilor Brian Mahern (D), who represents part of the district signed on as an original co-sponsor of the measure, he withdrew his support after learning that the proponents of the EID had intentionally misrepresented the support for the tax increase among the business owners.

What the council members learned tonight from long-time business owners in Fountain Square is that the proponents of the EID had resorted to subterfuge to gain the signatures of a sufficient number of business owners necessary to bring the proposal before the council. The proponents engaged in quiet conversations with business owners they knew would support it and crafted the boundary lines for the EID based on a composition that ensured them the requisite support for the EID. They added property owned by nonprofits on which no taxes are paid to reach the magical number. As a consequence of this new tax increase, the average affected business owner will be hit with an additional $1,300 property tax increase. Astonishingly, the proponents purport uses for the money (i.e., street and sidewalk improvements, security, snow removal, street cleaning, etc.) for which they are already paying property taxes to the City-County government to support.

The idea of the EID is the brainchild of LISC, a city-wide neighborhood nonprofit organization financed with taxpayer dollars, which intends to enact an EID in every single business district in the City. This will free up money the downtown mafia needs to continue lining the pockets of the corrupt elites who pull the strings of our corrupt city leaders. The EIDs are sought as a way of raising more taxes that are controlled by unelected business owners within these tailored taxing districts to spend as they please within the area. Essentially, it's an admission that the City's policy of continuing to place an increasing share of the tax base in TIF districts has consumed such a large percentage of the property tax revenue base that new tax sources must be found to pay for the basic city services business owners expect. The TIF funds are nothing more than slush funds used to make payoffs and kickbacks to fat cats who finance the politicians' campaigns. Instead of spending money on basic city services and infrastructure, tax revenues are diverted through TIFs to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to private development projects backed by the fat cats who lavish political contributions, tickets to sporting events, meals and entertainment and other freebies on the corrupt politicians who back them.

Last year, in another corrupt move, the City handed control of the Georgia Street business district over to Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. after sinking more than $13 million in street and sidewalk improvements for the business district, including heated sidewalks. In addition, the City kicked in a $1 million gift to IDI from ReBuild Indy funds as seed money to operate the business district. This past Fourth of July, the street was closed off and admission fees ranging from $20 to $40 were charged to people who wanted to hear bands hired by IDI to perform on the public street converted into a private venue. IDI periodically closes off the public street and rents out its use to private organizations as a way of making money for the nonprofit and supporting only business owners along the Georgia Street corridor. While the Georgia Street business owners being subsidized to prop up business activity near the downtown sports facilities benefit handsomely from this generous taxpayer support, other business districts are being told they have to raise taxes on themselves and hand control of those new tax revenues to unelected, unaccountable EID boards, or go without basic city services.

To let you know which council members showed themselves to be enemies of Indianapolis business owners by virtue of their votes tonight, the list includes: Zach Adamson (D), John Barth (D), Vop Osili (D), Mary Moriarty Adams (D), Jeff Miller (R) and Will Gooden (R). The only council member voting against this new tax increase was Leroy Robinson (D), the committee's chairman. The Democratic members voted in favor of it, in part, simply to spite Councilor Brian Mahern, who they despise because he has a brain that's capable of thinking independently unlike most of them and is willing to support the public's interests rather than the fat cats who are stuffing money in their pockets.

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