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What would you give up?  That is my question as the City of Indianapolis gets ready to deal with a $26 million budget shortfall.  Mayor Greg Ballard says he can restructure some of the shortfall, however there will have to be some cuts.

And while it’s real easy to say what other people should give up or pay more of, I ask you this morning, what are you willing to give up or pay more for to close the gap?

I’ll be awaiting your responses with baited breath.

  • Think Again

    Thanks, Thundermutt.

    I detest generalizations. But, too many Carmelites and Greenwooders think all that state govt. and infrastcuture is free to them. More burden is placed on Marion Co.

    I once lived in Brown County. Those poor soulds cannot attract industry, and the state park there is the nation’s most-popular state park. About two-thirds of the land in that county is state or federal parks. Untaxable. They had a hell of a time raising sufficient funds for schools, county roads, etc. Because all of us love to go down and visit the beautiful parks and the tacky shops.

    We’re no longer a county-only govt. region. As we grow and stratify, regional governmenmt solutions can make perfect economic sense.

    Case in point: if Hancock County, for instance, needs a new jail at $40 million, why can’t they band together with one or two other counties and build a new jail on a county line, say, with Rush County or something?

    We’re far too parochial with our local govt. decisions. We need to think more globally, and savings can follow.

    Ergo township govt. Completely useless and without merit. Their essential functions can easily be folded into another existing layer of govt., and improved at a cheaper cost.

    But we’re stepping on precious toes, huh?

  • John Howard

    The amount of tax-exempt ‘industry’ in the city is astounding:

    http://www.taxexemptworld.com

    Their website seems to be having difficulties today (very slow) but just in Indianapolis there are over 600 pages of organizations listed, with billions in income and assets being shielded from taxation. Tens of billions!

  • Brett Davis

    There are 2 things I wish the city would do:

    1. Make more cuts to the budget, except for public safety.

    2. Create additional fines for minor infractions.

    Here are some examples:
    Parking illegally in a handicap spot – $500
    Smoking right outside an intrance to a public building – $25 (Smokers can move 5 feet away from the door, so I can walk in without having to deal with their smoke.)
    Fine minors or the parents if they are out past curfew – $100

    I agree with Think Again. Township government needs to be abolished.

  • varangianguard

    Did anybody actually look over the summary of the proposed budget? Offhand, I’m not pleased with the increases for the Election Board, the Clerk’s office and the County Assessor. There ought to be penalties for underperforming, not budget increases.

    And, has anybody even asked just how throwing more money at something is actually improving anything? More money for Public Safety? OK. What for and why?!! Better not be for changing uniform styles or increased traffic patrols or further subsidies of take home cars. And there better be some attention paid to the automatic raises being given via the increased costs to the City in fuel prices. And what’s up with the increases for forensics? Anybody have any data on how that is being helpful?

    Plenty of questions, but nobody in charge is going to be asking them or answering them.

  • Shorebreak

    Excellent observations, Varangiangaurd.
    .
    Election Board = control of election results. “Lets throw them some money!”
    .
    Clerk = Management of elections. “Lets throw her some money!!!”
    .
    County Assessor = those folks tax the people and give us more money to spend. “Let’s throw them some money!”
    .
    “That way, we (Dem & GOP Party) stay in control, and we keep the money flowing. It’s a good plan.”
    – Official government representative.

  • Kevin Oldman

    I seem to recall the city is subsidizing curbside recycling. I used to pay six dollars a month, but I found that I could easily throw the recyclables in the car since I am always driving by one of the big green bins (BGBs?). Could the city stop subsidizing that and put more BGBs out there?

    Also – could the city, on its own, eliminate setting up polls for primary elections? Let the parties spend their own %^&$%^& money on mail-in ballots. Move the school board elections and any other real election items to the fall.

  • Think Again

    Go to the front of the line, Brett.

    Increasing fines is an excellent idea. Here’s one way we could balance the budget overnight:

    Fine smokers who throw their cig butts out of car windows or on the ground. Completely obnoxious, and out of control. At $50 a pop, we could retire all city debt in a year.

    As for Kevin’s question, I wasn’t aware we were subsidizing recycling. Does anyone know if that’s true? If we are we’re doing a half-assed job of it, so we should either increase the subsidy or stop it already.

    The clerk and election board probably need more money because they expect more folks will start voting. That would require more money.
    I’d hate to disincentivize voting.

    And she’s performed excellently since that first fiasco. Best ever.

  • Bart Flies

    Hate to say we told you so, but….

  • Juno

    Varagianguard is right. No more money for public safety until they put their own house in order, reprioritize and explain just what and how much money is being spent on things now. I just saw where the state boys recently got some new high powered mustangs to catch speeders. Now was that really necessary and just how many miles per gallon do those vehicles burn up, especially when you run them flat out? Those go home, too? Nice gig if you can get it, and a lot more fun than policing high crime areas.

    Go to a school voucher system and sell those monolithic schools to mall developers. The privates do a much better job at a fraction of the cost. They don’t overtax the juvy system either. Those unnecessary layers of overpriced administrators will disappear overnight. Privates get by without buses, whole staffs that do nothing but order toilet paper (some poor vice principal or office worker gets stuck doing that as part of their normal duties at the privates and probably gets stuck installing the stuff, too), and they don’t need a mini police force on site either. Those cops are then freed up to do something besides busting kids for nuisance behavior and then passing them off to an already overtaxed judicial system. Before someone jumps my case about that remark, the Star ran an article which chronicled pretty well the exhorbitant suspension rates of the schools. If these kids are that bad, you’d see them at juvy over the summer, which you don’t.

    There are also NO AGENCIES at any level of government that don’t waste money. Cutting budgets is an inconvenience to them, not an impediment to providing the same crummy, expensive and usually unresponsive service we’ve become accustomed to receiving. We already know our phone calls either won’t be answered and that we’ll get the run around if they are. Now let’s have a budget that matches the quality of services received.

    Oh, and let’s be sure to criminalize smoking too close to a public door and inappropriately discarding butts (usually because there is no place to put them) to raise more money. I already envision the establishment of whole new agencies at the state, county and local levels to administer these offenses. Let’s see, we’ll need officers to do the ticketing, a staff to process the tickets, a bunch of political hacks to oversee everything and waste any excess monies that may be generated, and a small judicial system to hear the challenged violations. Don’t we already have enough government devoted to enforcing laws we don’t need that end up costing more money than they ever generate for the “public good”?

  • Really

    According to the Star, roughly $8.5 million is interest on a loan the city was FORCED to take due to the fact that Gov. Mitch Daniels FORCED property tax RE-assessments and subsequently delayed payments from the state to the city. I would go after Daniels for the interest on that loan. Didn’t Ballard say he would be cutting $70 million from the budget? Also, the merger of the sheriff and police is saving how much a year? Bart Lies, Greg Lies, THEY ALL LIE.