Monday, April 28, 2014

Star Continues To Push Public Safety Tax Increase Propaganda

As with every tax increase that comes before the Indianapolis City-County Council, the Indianapolis Star supports it and only presents one side of the argument. The newspaper is back with a repeat performance on the latest public safety tax increase proposal just like the 65% increase in the 2007 local income tax increase the Star aided former Mayor Bart Peterson and the Democratic-controlled council in ramming down our throats. Today's headline says "Tax hikes of $29 million would bring IMPD staff to highest level ever":
With homicides rising for a third straight year, a City-County Council task force is recommending $29 million in tax hikes to increase the Indianapolis police force by nearly 300 officers.The IMPD Staffing Study Commission proposal would add 286 officers to the force by 2020 at a annual cost of about $100 in new taxes for most Marion County residents. The new revenue would increase the department's ranks to 1,813 officers, the most it's ever had.
"People don't feel safe in our community right now, the No. 1 priority should be put on hiring police officers," said Democratic Councilor Mary Moriarty Adams, chairwoman of the commission. 
Half the new revenues would be provided by eliminating a homeowner tax break — a move originally proposed by Republican Mayor Greg Ballard that Democrats on the council have rejected three times.
The difference this time, said council chief financial officer Bart Brown, is that the homestead tax credit would be phased out over four years. Brown said a property owner with a $100,000 home ultimately would pay an extra $30 a year. 
Another $15 million a year would be generated by slightly increasing the income taxes dedicated to public safety. A resident making $50,000 a year would pay about about $75 a year more. 
Democratic Councilor John Barth said it was imperative that the council address the IMPD staffing shortage now, before the number of police offices and agency morale dip too low to be repaired. His constituents, he said, have indicated they'd be willing to pay for adequate police coverage. But the question going forward is: How much? 
"No matter what, it is going to be hard when we talk about revenue enhancement (tax increases)," Barth said. "The next step is to stand up and say, 'We are willing to make the hard decisions.' " 
The plan is intended as a blueprint for budget negotiations this summer, he said. 
"Our hope is that this is pathway to get more police in the 2015 budget and beyond," Barth said. "We will be saying take this to the mayor's office and find out what's palpable for all of us."
The story per standard operating procedure is devoid of any critical analysis and is nothing more than a press release for the lying politicians who we foolishly elect to represent us on the City-County Council. Don't even get me started on the local TV reporters, who amazingly can only find people who support raising taxes when they go out looking for interviews with local taxpayers. Everybody agrees that higher taxes is the answer. Everybody agrees that if we hire 200, 300, 400 or 500 more police officers, everything will be much better. Here are some suggested questions the lazy reporters in this town might want to check out if they consider themselves legitimate news reporters:
  • What happened to the $90 million a year in new taxes for public safety in 2007 these lousy bums slapped us with  that were supposed to hire all of those new police officers, particularly since the part of that tax set aside for paying unfunded pension liabilities for public safety employees was taken over by the state, saving the City $25 to $30 million annually? The public was promised the higher taxes would be used to hire 100 to 200 additional police officers to combat a rising crime problem, primarily the record number of homicides recorded in 2006 but not a single new officer was added, even with a federal COPs grant to fund 50 new police officer positions.
  • The Mayor has repeatedly claimed that overall crime in the City has been down every year that's he's been mayor even though the number of police officers employed by IMPD has remained flat throughout his two terms in office. If crime is down overall despite the failure to hire more police officers, how will hiring more police officers reduce crime?
  • The record number of homicides recorded in 2006 was followed by many years of declining homicide numbers to what the mayor described as historically low rates while the number of police officers remained flat. How will spending money to hire additional police officers reduce the homicide rate?
  • What happened to the $9 million in savings that was supposed to come from the merger of IMPD and the Sheriff's Department? 
  • What impact did the decision of the mayor and council to divert as much as $120 million a year in property tax revenues to TIF slush funds to fund crony capitalism have on the supposed lack of funds for public safety now? 
  • What impact has the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks the City-County Council has passed out to businesses over the past decade had on the supposed lack of funds for public safety now?
  • Where will the city-county government's share of $97 million in property tax revenue windfalls from enforcement of the homestead exemption recently announced be spent? 
  • Isn't the controller's office low-balling future revenue growth, particularly as property values continue their rebound, to make the revenue outlook in future years look worse than it really is?
  • Doesn't the controller say that this tax increase is only a stop-gap measure and that another tax increase will be required within four years to maintain higher staffing levels for IMPD?
  • Why does the City continue to allow private security firms to use our police officers, police cruisers and other law enforcement equipment for no remuneration instead of imposing fees on them like most other major cities in America, leaving millions of dollars on the table annually? 
  • Why does this City refuse to collect fees for the added public safety costs caused by sporting and other special events like other cities do, leaving millions more dollars on the table annually? 
  • Why does the City refuse to collect fees from the large nonprofit organizations and universities that pay no taxes to support public safety like many other large cities, leaving even more millions of dollars on the table annually? 
  • Isn't the multi-year pay raises quietly promised by the Ballard administration to representatives of the FOP and the firefighters going to consume a significant part of the higher tax revenues earmarked for hiring more officers?
  • Where will the money come from to pay the tens of millions in new annual budget outlays that the City will be required to pay if Mayor Ballard gets his way and a new criminal justice center is built next year that will be owned and operated by a private company?
  • Does the City plan to sell the valuable real estate on which the current two jails are located for their fair market value? Or will that land be gifted to private real estate developers, along with other economic development incentives and tax breaks, to redevelop the land for the private developer's exclusive benefit?


Anonymous said...

Now, now we can't let a few niggling facts prevent the Mayor and the City Council from pushing more taxes down our throats.

I'm sure the Mayor and the City Council will be more than happy to tell us where all of the public safety increases, fee increases and reduced pension liability dollars were spent.

Anonymous said...

i am an impd police officer and we are incredibly understaffed. it is the worse i have ever seen it.

having said that i don't support a tax increase. it makes no sense to me that all these tax incentives are being given away and yet when a fundamental service needs funding the taxpayers have to pay more.

that is to say, if there isn't money in the pot to pay for basic city services there certainly isn't any money to give away.

if you can't pay your rent you don't give money away to other people. some things come first.

besides, they will pump up the city's revenues, higher a few officers, everyone will "feel better", and then the allgeged increases will NEVER happen. they have never happened before and they won't happen this time.

not under this mayor. no way.

Flogger said...

Do not expect the Mega-Media to ask your questions. Our Local Mega-Media subscribes to the Mayor's Press Releases as their sole source for Reporting.

The Democratic wing of our Republicrat Party will need to do an elaborate dance routine. The Democrats will need to hit the "Crime" Issue. However, the tricky part of the routine will be the Democrats will not want to blamed for Tax Increase. Been there done that and the Democrats lost to Ballard.

So the Mega-Media Campaign will stress Bi-Partisan support for a tax increase that way neither Wing of the Reublicrat Party can be blamed for increasing taxes.

The Democrats will keep Crony-Capitalism off the campaign table. Both Political Parties present a United Front in favor of Crony-Capitalism. Hence the name Republicrat. More tax dollars for the Pacers or Colts no problem.

By the way Irsay's problem with the Law seems have disappeared from our watch dog Media.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Yes, all the questions raised in this post of AdvanceIndiana should be addressed by the only daily newspaper in Indianapolis.

Anonymous said...

The City Controller stated that you can hire them, but cannot keep them! By max'ing out the local taxes allowed by law, the city can hire the new officers, but cannot keep them because they will cause a deficit in the budget after a few years. Then what?

Lay them off? -Allow criminals to victimize us?

If taxes are at maximum allowed, then the only choice will be to lay them off and then we all become victims...and our city will become South Detroit, Indiana.

Gary R. Welsh said...

If you look at the record of almost any of the people committing the most serious crimes, they've been in and out of the criminal justice system. They serve very little of their original sentence, or their original sentence wasn't long at the outset. Hiring more officers won't reduce crime if the same criminal offenders are simply going to be released time and time again to recommit crimes.