Friday, May 2, 2014

City to Public: Pay Up For More Police

When it comes to throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at professional sports teams and enacting special legislation so that they pay as few taxes as possible, money just seems to fall from the fucking sky and it is no big deal.

But when citizens are sick and tired of running over tire-destroying potholes and a police force that is reactive rather than proactive, well you are just a selfish asshole for not paying enough in taxes. Get ready to open up, because the Powers-That-Be have determined they're going after every last dime they can get their hands on.

Via The Indianapolis Star:

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 an 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.
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.
An additional $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 $75 more a year.
The plan is intended as a blueprint for budget negotiations this summer, he said.
The proposal would increase the number of officers to 1,797 by 2018, which would be the highest council-authorized level ever. There are 1,527 police on the force now.
One hundred officers a year would be hired from 2015 to 2018, and 50 would be hired in 2019 and 2020, in addition to the 80 recruits being trained now.
At the same time, the department expects to lose 42 officers a year to retirements and resignations through 2020.

Not a single word about how the city is pissing away $160 million on managing Conseco Bankers' Life Fieldhouse, including buying (another?) fancy scoreboard and other upgrades to the facility. Nothing about how the Pacers' organization swear they couldn't possibly afford these upgrades on their own even though they keep all revenue generated from events held at the stadium. Nothing about the millions of dollars we're losing out on in a revenue "sharing" agreement with the private operator of our publicly owned parking meters.

Every one of these fee and tax increases hurts. In a stagnant economy where it isn't uncommon for people to not even get cost of living increases, another $75 a year is a tank of gas. It is a week of groceries (if you're really a bargain hunter).

I've said before I'm not opposed to a tax increase. But it makes it a lot harder to support when contractors and professional sports teams get showered with public money and then the Powers That Be turn around and tell us there is no money to fix our streets or to hire police officers.

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