Now that the Indianapolis City-County Council has passed the one-percent hotel tax increase, I’m in the process of gauging the fallout from the bi-partisan 15-14 vote. And I can report so far my political geiger counter is not picking up very much.
There’s been some chatter in the blogosphere, but there have been no calls to either the Mayor’s office nor the Council office from citizens complaining about the tax increase.
I also spoke to several City-County Councilors who voted both for and against the tax increase and reaction has been scant at best. One councilor told me he got a handful of e-mails, but they were split 50-50. One got four text messages thanking him for voting against the tax. Another just got one complaint on their facebook page. The most replies were nearly dozen and a half e-mails of support for a Councilor who voted no.
Councilors also told me they got more calls from constituents over the smoking ban, human rights ordinance, and dangerous dog ordinance than they did the hotel tax increase. And even in those instances, the Council chambers were packed with citizens. With the hotel tax vote, the room was barely half full.
I bring this up because despite what the chatter class might say, anyone who thinks the hotel tax is going to be a game changer in 2011 is probably in for a surprise. The income tax increase of 2007 was a mandatory tax that was passed in an election year. The hotel tax was a voluntary tax paid for by visitors and it occurred more than two years before the next municipal election.
Now, if there’s a bailout of the Indiana Pacers and the city takes over the operations of Conseco Fieldhouse for $15 million and gets nothing in return there will be blood in the streets and citizens shall bend their plowshares back into swords and rightly so.
But for now, the world moves on and maybe it’s time for the rest of us to do the same.