In another full court press by the media, we are being told what an absolutely great deal the CIB has made in awarding the local basketball team a $160,000,000 subsidy over the next ten years.
Mayor Ballard is prominently quoted as saying, among other things, that the deal is legitimate because the money involved cannot, by law, be used for usual and ordinary municipal expenses. Like public safety, for instance.
The implication being that he is heartbroken at the probable necessity of raising other taxes to give us parks, cops and local bus rides.
What he does not say is that the current law provides what it does precisely because it does what he, and the downtown power brokers, want it to do.
Between multiple taxes enacted specifically for the benefit of the CIB, and widespread abuse of TIF policies, the political/financial parasites of Indianapolis have never had it so good.
It’s all OK, they say, because property taxes are not involved. That is also a part of the misdirection. Among other things, a billion dollars worth of real estate is exempt from property tax for the primary benefit of the two professional sports (entertainment business) franchises.
If he was at all interested in representing the citizen taxpayers of his city, Ballard would send his buddies to lobby the legislature to reverse the present situation. He would present a realistic program of priorities wherein legitimate municipal functions for the benefit of all citizens would receive public funds first. (Any leftovers from that concept might be used to aid our poverty stricken billionaires with their fiscal problems.)
We heard a gentleman on the radio claiming that this Pacers deal, despite having been approved with no public discussion or input, had been in the works for years, ever since the Colts took the city for a financial waltz on the stadium. This is a "get even" arrangement, he says.
He is very likely correct. Local politicians, and most especially the CIB, have never seemed to look at current expenditures as right or wrong, good or bad. They are just there, and if questionable, the only possible answer is to spend more bring everyone else up to equally questionable status. Decisions are made pretty easily when no apparent sense of logic, priority or even common sense is required - and you're using someone else's money!
Downtown activity justifies throwing the funds around with great abandon. Part of the trouble seems to be that the downtown activity includes (increases?) the presence of panhandlers and gangs, which in turn tends to call for increased police activity. But we can’t afford the police because we are "forced" to use these "dedicated revenues" to subsidize the downtown activity which attracts the panhandlers and gangs requiring more police.......! (Going around the monument isn't the only circular path downtown!)
Sooner or later we will once again hear how necessary it is to levy a new or increased tax for public safety purposes. And that’s because the state law - the one preferred by our leaders - won’t allow us to eliminate, or even reduce, current giveaways.
Since we don’t choose to change the law forcing irresponsible use of public funds, we’ll just have to force-feed another tax increase to the mis-led voter.
Too bad we can’t just print the money the way the feds do.