Friday, October 12, 2012

City County Council Approves $15 Million Tax on Indianapolis CIB

From a lengthy article in the Indianapolis Star:
City-County Council Democrats’ bid to impose a $15 million tax next year on the city’s sports and convention board succeeded in a committee Thursday along party lines.
Their goal was clear: to help pay for 50 new police officers and 30 firefighters while also creating breathing room as they rewrite Republican Mayor Greg Ballard’s proposed $1.1 billion city/county budget.
Ballard opposes those moves, but there’s not much he can do to stop the one-time charge to the Capital Improvement Board.
While he has veto power over the city/county budget, Ballard lacks that power over the separate budget of the CIB, a semi-independent municipal corporation that operates buildings including Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center.
The CIB’s budget, including the tax amendment, heads for a final vote Monday, when the council takes up all municipal budgets. Democrats have a 16-13 majority.
The council’s unusual — though not unprecedented — move could have wide repercussions.
That much became clear in an interview with state Sen. Luke Kenley. He’s the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee chairman being courted by city leaders and other advocates who are pushing for the legislature’s permission next year to hold a referendum on a $1.3 billion comprehensive transit plan.
Kenley said the council’s move to tap the CIB budget sends a mixed message to the General Assembly, which helped finance construction of the stadium and the convention center expansion.
Council Democrats are seeking to impose on the tax-exempt CIB a charge that state law allows as a “payment in lieu of taxes,” or PILOT.
Vice President Brian Mahern proposed the amendment adding the $15.million charge to the CIB budget. The Municipal Corporations Committee voted 5-3 to adopt the amendment, with Republicans voting no.
See the full article here: