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Council Committee Holds Nose and Votes for Hotel Tax Increase

It was a vote nobody wanted, but by 5-1, the City-County Council Rules and Policy Committee moved forward tonight with a plan that would increase the local hotel tax by one percent to help bail out the Capitol Improvement Board.

Republicans dominated the committee but each one said they were not crazy about raising the tax, but it was the only option given to them by General Assembly.   Democrat Angela Mansfield was the only “no” vote. Democrats Joanne Sanders and Monroe Gray were not at the meeting.

Republican At-large member Barb Malone said while she would vote to get the measure to the full Council, she said there was no guarantee she would vote for the measure once it got there.  And committee Chairman Bob Lutz said there was a 50-50 chance the measure would pass the full council.

Lutz said the City was dealt a bad hand by the General Assembly and it was the only hand they had to play.  If the full Council passes the measures it opens the door to other state funding for the CIB.

Opponents of the measure offered their criticism of plan but short of calling for bankruptcy, which state law does not allow, they were short on alternatives to the current proposal.

You can hear interviews with all three Councilors below.  A full Council vote is slated for next month.

Bob Lutz

Angela Mansfield

Barb Malone

  • IndyErnie

    “Democrats Joanne Sanders and Monroe Gray were not at the meeting.”
    Sanders chose to attend to other matters. Evidently attending to civil duties with which one is being paid to attend takes a back seat on Ms Sander's calender. Gray just forgot! I bet he didn't forget his game of golf today.

  • melyssa

    Abdul, thanks for showing up for the long tedious meeting having to listen to all those panhandlers in suits put sugar on the same lines of crap they've been feeding us for years.

    You are the only reporter who stayed to the end. That says something. Thanks again.

    If it was all such a great investment, then why are we here now? It all defies logic and common sense.

  • melyssa

    Ernie, we should dock pay for Sanders and Gray. The taxpayers paid for them to be there. THAT is their job.

  • IndyErnie

    We can't expect more than 33.3% effort from a democrat on a good day. What should we expect after a tough day of golf anyway? Why should tonight be any different?

  • melyssa

    Gosh Ernie. I worked all day. Didn't have time to eat lunch. Left work at 5:15, drove to City Hall, parked and barely made it in time. I missed dinner and sat through that dog and pony show without being paid a nickel to represent all the people I know who don't want this madness to go on.

    Meanwhile our paid reps don't show.

    Maybe I should be a city councilor. I would show up and I would put my foot down too.

    By the way, Monroe Gray is MY city councilor. I get absolutely no representation from him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Stone/27307256 Matt Stone

    Abdul,
    I appreciate you showing up and presenting the issue as it is. But I do have one criticism of your article. That opponents didn't offer any solutions to the problem at hand.

    For better or for worse, this wasn't a meeting to discuss what should be done. That should've been done long ago, and offering viable alternatives would be pointless at this time. This was a meeting to play the blame game (onto the state, onto the previous administration) and play the victim, not to determine the best solution. And for opponents, the most important measure is to get the current bailout defeated. Then the council can invite opponents back to the table and say “What have you got for us?”

  • melyssa

    Matt? Are you the guy that read the Indiana Constitution that pertains to stock which clearly shows that the actions of the council tonight were unlawful according to Indiana Constitution?

    If so, I wrote about you here:
    http://hoosiersforfairtaxation.blogspot.com/200

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Stone/27307256 Matt Stone

    Mel, that's me. I'm writing up my report for my own blog at the moment. I'll make sure to send you a link when done.

  • Think Again

    Regardless of party, the three interviews you conducted were thoughtful and smart. I am glad those three are on the council.

    As for absentees: I frequently go to committee and council meetings. In the summer, attendance is often less, due to family vacations and other commitments. In the past, the committee chair would announce at the outset, who was on vacation, ill, or excused.

    I wan my money's worth, but I do realize these folks have lives. I'll take a (shot) breather on Monroe and Joanne, especially if they're there for the council vote.

    I understand the anger at their absence, but I'm willing to forgive, for now. I'm sure, in any council member's absence, (s)he checked with their caucus leader or the chair, to determine if their presence was needed for a quorum.

    Just a thought.

  • Think Again

    *** (sHort) not SHOT

  • varangianguard

    TA, that was your subconcious at work…lol

  • Dave

    The “answer” is a tax increase? “The only choice?” Really? In 2007, citizens made it clear they'd had enough of being had; exactly the crap that took place at last night's city council meeting. Thanks to Councilor Mansfield for her common sense choice and her no vote. Where's that party of small government, Republicans whom Councilor Mansfield challenged to “step up and take responsibility?” It's not merely a lack of imagination that gives us low quality policy making, it's a lack of commitment, to principles; channel markers that guide decision making. Our economic engine is driven by the people in this community; not one particular industry, entertainment or otherwise. The first or prevailing contract is the Constitution, not an off charter, highly irregular, non-standard, “sweetheart deal.” Triple net leases are standard practice in commercial leasing, where tenants pay a market rent to include maintenance, property taxes & insurance costs. The field house & stadium deals are inequitable, preferred or exclusive arrangements; improperly funded and not uniformly available to other businesses… This can't mindedness, “can't get there from here” or “can't put a man on the moon,” is an excuse, not logic.

  • John Howard

    It's particularly odd that Joanne would skip out on an issue that directly affects her '66,000 jobs' fan base (i.e., constituents).

    I suppose it's one small step forward that a council member is at least willing to admit the deal stinks to high heaven.

  • http://www.hoosiersforfairtaxation.com/ melyssa

    John, you bring up a very good point about Joanne Sanders. One I had not thought of yet. If she doesn't have the courage to go to bat for those “66,000” hotel workers many of whom live at poverty level, who does she have the courage to serve?

  • IndyErnie

    I asked about Gray and Sanders. Sanders had a scheduling issue. And Gray admitted to staff that he forgot. The CCC just had a break for vacations and personal trips.
    Sanders knew months in advance when these committee meetings are scheduled as does Gray. Absent of family emergencies councilors have no excuse.

  • Nick

    No, Council, the Pacers $15 Million Is Still On the Table; Harold Hill Appears Before Council Committee Asking for Money

    http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2009/07/no-counc

    Raising taxes to bail out millionaire and billionaire owners WILL NOT fly in the world of public opinion.

    Our public officials WILL be held accountable.

    Back room deals will be publically aired and prosecution of public graft will be pursued.

  • Think Again

    I don't know Joanne's scheduling conflict, but it is entirely possible she had a job or personal conflict. Ernie: there are issues which pull folks away form council meetings. A committee meeting is important, but if a quorum was there, these folks know in advance how the votes are going to go. My guess is she knew, her vote wasn't required, and she kept her other appointment. Lighten up, Ernie.

    Now, Monroe forgetting, that is rich…it's not like his schedule is jammed.

  • IndyErnie

    The folks Sanders represents in her day job are in support of the tax increase. They feel as though there is no other option at this time. Sanders is apposed to any increase as are all democrats and the democrats are planning to make a political issue of this vote.
    Sanders didn't attend because she didn't want to cast a vote in opposition to the desires of those she represents in the union. Bottom line…Sanders wants to play on both sides of the street at the same time.
    Sanders basically told the citizens of Indianapolis and the union workers who depend on her to, kiss off.

  • IndyErnie

    TA about fifty union members found the time to attend…I think Sanders should have also.

  • Think Again

    So, Ernie–now you make her schedule for her?

    Get a life already.

  • John Howard

    Oh, that's right. Last night simply reinforces the theory about making the Repubs fall on their own sword to try and get the upper hand the next mayoral election. Forgot about that. Now it makes sense that Sanders wasn't there.

  • John Howard

    Isn't having a strong interest in civic matters a pretty respectable 'life?'

  • IndyErnie

    Evidently someone needs to.
    TA life doesn’t require me to make excuses for Sanders who snubbed her constituents, Why do you fell compelled to do so?

  • http://www.hoosiersforfairtaxation.com/ melyssa

    Ernie, save your anger for Monroe Gray. I got the following email from Adam Kersch today explaining Joanne Sanders absence. He offered no explanation for Gray.

    I'm publishing her reason, which I think is a good one, on the HFFT blog tonight.

    Also, he said Sanders would vote NAY if she could have been there.

  • IndyErnie

    I'm not mad at anyone.

  • pogden297

    The trouble is that people out there demanding that you accept their premise – that raising taxes is critical to the convention business and keeping the CIB sinking ship afloat. I'm not sure when raising taxes on something was a good way to get more of that something. We're getting ready to adopt the highest hotel/sales tax in the country. And people don't think that's a problem? Well, I guess we have that great weather and beach to fall back on. Wait, I'm thinking of Tampa.

    The trouble is a “soution” is not a solution if it doesn't fit into a preconceived mindset regarding what needs to be done. So one can offer options, but those options are never going to meet their expectations of “alternatives.” It's an impossible argument to win.

  • Think Again

    So, Ernie–now you make her schedule for her?

    Get a life already.

  • John Howard

    Oh, that's right. Last night simply reinforces the theory about making the Repubs fall on their own sword to try and get the upper hand the next mayoral election. Forgot about that. Now it makes sense that Sanders wasn't there.

  • John Howard

    Isn't having a strong interest in civic matters a pretty respectable 'life?'

  • IndyErnie

    Evidently someone needs to.
    TA life doesn’t require me to make excuses for Sanders who snubbed her constituents, Why do you fell compelled to do so?

  • http://www.hoosiersforfairtaxation.com/ melyssa

    Ernie, save your anger for Monroe Gray. I got the following email from Adam Kersch today explaining Joanne Sanders absence. He offered no explanation for Gray.

    I'm publishing her reason, which I think is a good one, on the HFFT blog tonight.

    Also, he said Sanders would vote NAY if she could have been there.

  • IndyErnie

    I'm not mad at anyone.

  • pogden297

    The trouble is that people out there demanding that you accept their premise – that raising taxes is critical to the convention business and keeping the CIB sinking ship afloat. I'm not sure when raising taxes on something was a good way to get more of that something. We're getting ready to adopt the highest hotel/sales tax in the country. And people don't think that's a problem? Well, I guess we have that great weather and beach to fall back on. Wait, I'm thinking of Tampa.

    The trouble is a “soution” is not a solution if it doesn't fit into a preconceived mindset regarding what needs to be done. So one can offer options, but those options are never going to meet their expectations of “alternatives.” It's an impossible argument to win.