IBJNews

Ballard again targets homestead credit in latest budget proposal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Mayor Greg Ballard will introduce a $1 billion budget for 2014 Monday night that chops the Marion County Sheriff’s spending and once again hinges on a complicated reshuffling of tax revenue.

Ballard’s administration is counting on the City-County Council to boost revenue by $11.5 million by eliminating the homestead property-tax credit, which is an income tax-supported subsidy that benefits some homeowners. (It’s different than the much larger homestead deduction.)

With three Republicans joining the Democratic majority, the council voted 18-11 on July 29 against a phased-in homestead credit elimination. Last year, council leaders rejected a similar proposal that was part of Ballard’s 2013 budget.

Council President Maggie Lewis, a Democrat, said she agreed to sponsor the proposal this time, but she’s not personally sold on it. “It’s budget time, and everything should be on the table,” she said.

Lewis said she also wants to look at one-time measures, such as tapping tax-increment finance revenue, an $80 million fiscal stability fund that helps the city maintain its AAA credit rating, or unspent Rebuild Indy money.

Ballard’s team anticipated a $55 million gap between revenue and spending for 2014. They caught an $8 million break because health insurance premiums stayed flat, and they’re looking for $32.5 million more in spending cuts and new revenue sources.

The rest of the gap would be covered by spending down $25 million of the current general-fund balance.

The proposed cuts are as follows:

— Not funding police and firefighter raises scheduled to take effect in 2014: $5.7 million

— Marion County Sheriff’s Office: $5.4 million

— Marion County Courts: $1 million

— Indianapolis Fire Department: $1 million.

Additional revenue would come from these sources:

— Eliminating the local homestead tax credit, along with expanding the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department property-tax district: $11.5 million

— Charging police and firefighters fees for personal use of their take-home cars: $1.4 million.

Lewis, who was briefed on the budget this week, said she’s concerned about the impact on cops, courts and the sheriff.

She thinks the administration should give police and firefighters their raises. “They signed that contract. I think they should honor that contract.”

Firefighters wouldn’t face layoffs as a result of the department’s budget cut. Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn said the city will spend the next year studying opportunities for station consolidation, but there will be no layoffs. IFD has an incoming recruit class, which is expected to make up for retirements and reduce overtime expenses.

The deepest cut would fall on the sheriff’s office, an ongoing source of frustration for Ballard. Sheriff John Layton’s budget would go from $111.5 million this year to $108 million.

That includes $2 million that's earmarked for debt service on an emergency communications system, so unless the council finds a way to restore his funding, Layton faces about $5 million in cuts elsewhere. He couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, when Vaughn and Controller Jason Dudich presented an overview of the budget to IBJ.

In an interview Thursday, Ballard said he’s not concerned about the impact of budget cuts. “If people manage appropriately, you won’t see any drop in services,” he said.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Oct. 14. “I don’t think they’re going to try to play games with it like they did last year,” Ballard said.

Vaughn acknowledged, though, that he has no idea how the council will react to his third crack at eliminating the homestead credit.

The impact on homeowners ranges from zero for those whose bills are already at the constitutionally mandated 1-percent cap to more than $70, especially in parts of Washington Township. The impact varies in both Democratic and Republican council districts.

Vaughn thinks eliminating the homestead credit makes the county’s tax burden fairer because currently, anyone who pays income taxes but doesn’t own a home sees no benefit. “It’s literally paying my property-tax bill in Washington Township,” he said.

Eliminating the credit would generate $11.5 million in income tax if it’s coupled with an expansion of the IMPD taxing district. The district currently covers the old city limits, but Ballard’s administration is proposing to expand it to the entire county, except Lawrence, Beech Grove, Speedway and Southport.

The current IMPD property-tax levy, $35 million, would apply to a broader base, lowering the tax rate from 36.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation inside the current district to 11.4 cents per $100. Whether homeowners inside the current district see their bills decline and those in the expanded area see bills rise will depend on whether they've already hit the 1-percent cap, Dudich said.

For the city, expanding the district lessens the impact of property-tax caps and would generate another $3 million a year, Dudich said. Other entities inside the old city limits, especially Indianapolis Public Schools, would see the same benefit, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Homes less affordable
    Yes, lets get rid of the tax break that makes home ownership affordable. Surely there is some other way to fund our police department.
  • What about TIFs?
    Yes, what about the TIF revenues? What are they? If we keep putting new projects in TIFs will never grow the property tax base. Why not get a project at the Market Square site that can be developed with free land, but without an $18 million taxpayer subsidy so that its property taxes can go into the general fund to fill some gaps?
  • City Accounting is just lone Major financial defalcation.
    It is criminal for the Ballard administration to ask rank and file taxpayers for anymore money. 1st and foremost START BY reporting 100% of the revenues and stop funding TIFS! Put all assessed valuation of real estate back in --in support of the general fund. Then when you have excess funding consider more TIFS only continue to pay down the current TIFS. Complete lack of integrity not to properly report all tax revenues. Stop with the crony capitalism.
  • OK
    This guy beat who on what??? Thanks IMPD, this is all the luv you get.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.

ADVERTISEMENT