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.