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A Little Gossip, A Little Chat, A Little Idle Talk of This and That

Hey guys, after being out of town for a few days, I’ve managed to get caught up on a few items here and there.  Some you are quite aware of, others maybe not so much.  As always, we are more than happy to print the gossip, rumor and blatant innuendo that we can confirm from two or more sources.  Enjoy.

  • Marion County coffers may be in for a bit of sticker shock as more commercial property tax appeals move their way through the system.  The assessment on the M & I building reportedly went from $71 million (pre-appeal) to about $20 million (post-appeal).  A few more of these and local governments could be in for a rude awakening.
  • Speaking of property taxes, Indiana lawmakers will take up putting property tax caps into the Constitution when the convene in January, however I’m hearing the opposition is not as much based on party lines as it is geographical ones.  Lawmakers from cities and suburbia are more like to vote for the caps, while those from rural areas tend to oppose them.  Stay tuned.
  • For all the talk about the failures of modernizing FSSA, one thing I don’t hear is that even in Governor Mitch Daniels’ admission that the system didn’t work, the taxpayers saved $145 million.  If that’s failure, I’d hate to see success.  In addition, for anyone thinking this will translate into a political issue, I doubt it seriously.  I don’t see people who pay taxes getting too excited over the plight of those that generally don’t.
  • Opponents of the Wishard referendum continue to make their case against the proposal.  However, as I was told following a presentation on Saturday at the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhoods, that although the opponents have raised some legitimate concerns, they haven’t done enough to move voters into the definite “no” column.
  • The conspiracy theorists are at it again over the Capital Improvement Board’s news that it may not need to borrow $9 million from the state due to a better financial picture.  They say the CIB is just clearing the way to provide a bailout to the Indiana Pacers.   My conversations with sources close to the negotiation tell me there will be no wholesale bailout and the city will definitely get something in return for the taxpayers if any assistance is offered.
  • Remember how I told you a while back that Eli Lilly may lose some of its tax abatements because it is laying off employees.   Well I’m hearing the same thing may be getting ready to happen over at Simon Corporate headquarters. Sources say the Simons layoff employees in such a way that it doesn’t have to report the figures to the state, however in the aggregate those numbers do add up.  Watch for this one folks.
  • Fundraising in the 5th District looks pretty interesting.  Although incumbent Dan Burton raised $152,000 in the latest reporting period, his opponents raised a combined $221,000.   This once again proves my theory that unless someone gets out, Burton will likely stay in.
  • Carlos May will announce tomorrow that he is running against incumbent Andre Carson in the 7th Congressional District.  May has a long community service resume, but what may make this one different are his deep ties in the Latino community, which is often overlooked in Marion County races.  While those ties may not be a total game changer, having a candidate who can speak the language, literally, of a key group of voters, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Of course the GOP will have to keep the heated illegal immigration rhetoric down to a bare minimum.
  • The political divisions continue to grow within the Indiana Democratic African-American Caucus over whether candidates who run against the slate should be banned from slating for the next six years.  At another weekend meeting the discussion got so heated State Rep. Bill Crawford stormed out of the meeting in disgust.  Crawford was apparently not pleased with Democrats using the same tactics in 2008 that were used trying to keep African-American political pioneers off the ballot in the 1970s.
  • And speaking of race, I’m hearing Marion County Sheriff’s candidate John Layton may be playing the race card in his primary contest against Mark Brown.  I’m told Layton is accusing Brown of not only voting Republican, but only voting for Barack Obama because he is black.  Brown is also an African-American.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  By the way, this marks Indiana Barrister’s 2,000th post! Yeah!   So now is as good a time as any to personally thank all of you read IB on a daily basis.   By my last count we get anywhere from 1,100 – 1,700 unique visitors daily and if someone didn’t think we were a valuable resource, you wouldn’t come here from all over Indiana and quite a few parts outside the Hoosier state.  So thanks again.

By that way, this means it’s the perfect time to celebrate with cocktails and a cigar. But knowing me, everyday is a good day to celebrate with a cocktail and cigar.

  • Bill

    Taxpayer concern without reply:

    John (Tuohy),
    What a weak piece of coverage on the Voting Questions issue you wrote for today's Indy Star.
     Taxpayers protested, fought, and ultimately threw out of office one of the most popular mayors in the City Of Indianapolis's history in a bid to lower property taxes and keep property owners from fleeing Marion County. These referendums are a direct attempt to once again fund everything under the sun through property taxes. Property tax reform has not yet been made permanent by our legislature and the bond debt money machine is at it again. Is this a question worth examining? Why did taxpayers fight for property tax reform if people that rent can vote to raise taxes on homeowners? It now cost around 14 thousand dollars per child to send kids to school in the public system in Indianapolis. This is more expensive than nearly all private schools in Indianapolis. Is this question worth mentioning in light of them asking for more money? Again we are not yet sure the legislature is going to make the property tax caps permanent but we are voting on more taxes. Is this worth consideration?
    Raising taxes in the worst housing market and economy in fifty years would not be worth mentioning? Is this a good idea? Should taxpayers that favor this do so at this time?
    Is raising property taxes in one of the worst real estate markets (Indianapolis) in the country a good idea at any time. Indianapolis has consistently topped the nation for the last ten years in foreclosures while also having the lowest appreciation of any major city. Is this worth looking at it terms of more property owner expense? We also have falling values in our housing stock locally. Raising property taxes only exasperates this problem. How many other cities across the country, besides Indianapolis, are raising property taxes at this time?
    Should we not focus on lowering our abandoned home numbers from the thousands  before we further raise taxes on the local real estate market? The Indy Star wrote an article in July about the rising number of abandoned homes in Indianapolis. Is raising the cost of our local housing through higher property taxes going to help or hurt the local abandoned housing problem? Am I missing something or is raising the taxes on the 8000 homes the Indy Star claims are abandoned in Indianapolis going to make them more affordable and help put residents back in these homes?
    At the end of the day responsible citizens will oppose anything that makes us less competitive to the surrounding areas around us. Taxes in Marion County cannot be higher than surrounding counties if we are to thrive in Marion County. Perhaps you should write and article titled “To Stay Or To Go” and write about all the compelling reasons to get out of the city that we already have, with out yet higher property taxes.

  • guest

    What?? FSSA saved $145 million???

    Tell me specifically, what aspect of the “privatization” saved the people of Indiana money?

    Could it be the new improved Daniels IBM – FSSA saved $145 million due to the fact that people who are in NEED of the funds, have not gotten them? Yes money saved by not helping those most in need.

    Tell me how this is not a political issue? Explain? When 100's if not 1000's of people who deserve the funding/services or FSSA did NOT get them (or at the least did not get funding/services in a timely manner)? How does a handicapp-person in a wheel chair in 2002 get funding and in 2008 (under the new IBM system), not get funding?

    It will be interesting how Daniels/FSSA twists the words and numbers in the upcoming weeks regarding this issue.

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

    The “privatization” of FSSA “saved” $145 million by cutting back services and other vital components so they couldn't do the job they were hired to do.

    It's like I can “save” $30 a week by not driving anywhere, but then I'll lose money by not being able to get to my job and earn money.

    I'll be surprised if it doesn't become a political issue. As little as a few weeks ago, Daniels was essentially calling it too big to fail, and lashing out at members of his own party for saying that the system needed a lot of work.

    As for the CIB, the greatest counter to “conspiracy” theories are the facts. The CIB has consistently failed to give any facts at all, including the true financial state of the Pacers. It's left us concerned citizens little else to go on. But how they've gone from $47 million in debt at the beginning of this year asking for various higher taxes, to…well, being in the black after only one tax increase and firing low level employees….cmon, something is fishy.

  • Guest

    I am a actual property tax paying homeowner living in Marion county, not one of the student minions sent out with talking points, not the doctors which probably do not live in Marion County, not a renter having no vested interest in property ownership, nor am I the editor of the Star which chose to endorse this giving approx. one paragraph to the reasons to vote no. Since they have all fallen negligent in their duties , I shall give you the homeowner voter a few reasons to vote no. They have told us, “No tax increase to you”. If that is the truth they would use general revenue bonds to build this. They told us, they do not need our money-Then great, leave us out of it and go ahead and build it-So vote No.
    The truth is they are trying to turn the argument from funding which you will pay, to wants and needs using the indigent and our injured policeman to lure us into the web. When you say no, they will go ahead and do the right thing and build it without obligating the property taxpayer-Vote No

  • pogden297

    When have anyone in the adminstration or the CIB claimed that they would be getting something back for taxpayers if they decide to pick up the Pacers' operating costs at Conseco. If they are going to, why are they keeping it hush hush? You would think they'd be talking about it.

    Nonetheless, there is simply no reason to give the Pacers a dime. The contract does not require it and the Pacers have no leverage to demand it.

  • joneaster

    I know the Marion County Sheriff's race is going to get nasty, but I haven't heard anything of the like out of John Layton or anyone around him's mouth. Methinks you've been used Abdul.

  • Indiana_Barrister


    I trust my sources implicitly.

  • Think Again

    I know the Layton folks pretty well…this is not his style at all. DItto Easter's comments, Abdul.

    Guest: I'm a property owner too, with several rentals. Courts have held in numerous cases, that renters have a direct tie to property taxes. Part of their rent goes to pay property taxes. Your view is unnecessarily renter-hostile.

    $145 million saved. Thanks for the Sunday laugh, Abdul. WHen they fed you that giant piece of crap wrapped up like a donut….did you even ask where they got the figure, or to justify their outrageous claim?

  • pogden297

    Didn't Abdul say that nobody is claiming $145 million was saved? I think his comment is being misinterpreted.

    People have forgotten that privaitization is supposed to be about COMPETITION, not giving some contractor a long-term contract. If a privatization effort is not about instilling competition into the delivery of services, we should not do be doing it.

  • Think Again

    No, Paul, that is not what he said. Read it again.

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

    Abdul specifically says it saved $145 million. What isn't explained is…well, the source of that statement, and how $145 million was saved.

  • coronarealestateagent

    I'm curious about the “privatization” savings as well.

    Cameron Novak

  • Think Again

    Bill Crawford walks out of a meeting. Please tell me how that's a negative.

  • pascal

    The “race card” is getting to be about like the little boy who cried wolf. After the two race hustlers did a job on Rush (Sharpton and jackson, rev) aided by a dishonest media (aren't they all, especially locally…see Paul's blog on Wishard) I think the race card is considerably devalued. In this day and age, when racism is extinct the card game should have no players. It seems to be just one more lie among many, played by the remnant racists for the most part. At least the skinheads are forthright.

  • Think Again

    Uh. Pascal, racism isn't extinct. Not even close. And your last sentence is very telling.

  • Dave

    “Capping” a variable (opinions on the history of value, subjective or nonuniform “assessments”), is yet another exercise in dysfunction. Taxpayer recourse (“administrative” remedy?) is an obscure process which pits the resources of government against its citizens, in arguing an opinion; vs. true market value, a transaction.

    Ballot questions, framed & drafted by proponents are something other than referenda- it's advocacy. People don't want this stuff shoved down their throats or snuck in the back door. In the rear view mirror, these issue will likely take form beyond current political “calculus.”

  • melyssa

    Whenever Bill Crawford gets upset and disgusted it must be because something good for the taxpayer citizens is about to happen.

  • pascal

    It's ok to tell us what you know, TA, and is it that you shirk when Sharpton and jackson are the go to guys? I pity blacks who have to put up with that imposition about like when conservatives have to say that Bush was not of the conservatives nor was McClain. Tell us, o wise one, where racism resides these days and who are the prominant folks who have it in their platforms. Skinheads are forthright. Matter of fact, they may also be stupid and dregs at the same time but they are more honest than shapton or jackson ever even thought of being and skinheads, unlike those liars, aren't race hustlers.

  • wilson46201

    The essence of “skinheadedness” is white supremacy. Pure and simple. If that isn't “race-hustling” what is?

  • IndyErnie

    pascal, on the skinhead issue I have to agree with TA and Wilson.
    However…I have said before hear and elsewhere that racism would die the death that it deserves if we as a people would let it. Now that said… I know that those on the left have to keep racism alive and breathing. How else are they going to force their agendas into the limelight? Without the threat of accusing others (those on the right) of being racists, the left looses another weapon. With the blending of families it won’t be long until the threat is dissolved. Then the left will have to deal with facts instead of innuendos.

  • Rico

    Good luck with all that! Our Race Pimp in Chief has set race relations back decades. His utter failure as president will only serve to perpetuate our racial divide. And Revs. Sharpton and Jackson can continue to wear their $600 shoes and stir up racial tensions where none would exist otherwise.

  • joneaster

    You may trust your sources, but I don't know if I would. Thus, I think you're being used in what is becoming a very nasty Sheriff's race on the D side. It doesn't have to be that way, but I think it's going to be. The rumors are flying fast and furious right now about BOTH candidates, and I am inclined not to believe anything I don't hear myself from the mouth of the candidates themselves.

  • Fact Checker

    The FSSA failure of Daniels will be a campaign issue. That phony figure of $145,000,000 saved is laughable. All of the money should have been saved because IBM did not do the job……Every cent paid to IBM was wasted taxpayer money and Daniels was warned before the contract was awarded. Daniels was urged repeatedly to cancel the contract due to the unwillingness or the inability of IBM to provide the services contracted. The losers are the taxpayers of Indiana and the citizens who were in need of the services provided by FSSA. No amount of spin can make this sound like a savings.

  • Dobie

    Why are people so surprised that what Daniels and IBM tried to do at FSSA didn't work? When you try new things sometimes you fail. This was one of those times. So admit it failed, learn from went wrong, and try something else. The only alternative is the status quo – and that is completely unacceptable.

  • Dobie

    If racism is rampant today – can you give me some examples? I'm not talking about skinheads or the KKK – I know they exist. But I also know that most people consider them idiots at best – they don't have much actual power or influence that I am aware of.

  • pascal

    Sharpton, Jackson, Obama's minister, there are a lot of prominant racists.

  • pascal

    Now, let's name off all of the prominant racists we have ever heard of who are whites. Hmmm. Does David Duke qualify even after all these years? Uh, let's see……Hmm…maybe we need to yield the floor to all those POS who have said racism is pervasive. Just whities, please, who are prominant. TA would be a good choice to begin the listings….?

  • pascal

    Now, let's name off all of the prominant racists we have ever heard of who are whites. Hmmm. Does David Duke qualify even after all these years? Uh, let's see……Hmm…maybe we need to yield the floor to all those POS who have said racism is pervasive. Just whities, please, who are prominant. TA would be a good choice to begin the listings….?