Indy council Democrats pitch budget alternative

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

City-County Council Democrats are pitching a 2014 budget alternative that would close an $8-million gap left by the majority party's refusal to go along with Mayor Greg Ballard on eliminating the homestead tax credit.

"At the end of the day, it's a property-tax increase and people are telling councilors they don't want to absorb it," said John Barth, the council vice president.

The Democrats' proposal calls for pulling money from the city's IT-services agency and the parking-meter fund, both of which are projected to have multi-million dollar balances at the end of 2014.

Barth unveiled the proposal Monday afternoon, as Republicans were preparing to bring the homestead tax credit elimination before the full council for a last-ditch vote. Ballard's $1 billion budget hinges on eliminating the tax credit, a move that would raise property taxes in some areas but would also mean a big boost in income-tax revenue.

The measure was defeated in a committee earlier this month on a 4-3, party-line vote. Barth said Democrats have been working on an alternative regardless. He wasn't sure Monday whether Ballard would accept it.

Ballard's chief of staff, Ryan Vaughn, has been unable to sway Democrats on eliminating the homestead tax credit, despite introducing a companion measure that would mitigate the tax-revenue impact on Indianapolis Public Schools and offering to spend $7 million out of the city's $80 million fiscal-stability fund on the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

"To us, the homestead credit is done, and you have to deal with the consequences," Barth said. The Democrats instead want to pull $3.1 million from the Information Services Agency, which was counting on the money for long-term capital projects, and $4.5 million from the parking-meter fund, which is projected to end 2014 with $5.8 million.

Typically the parking-meter fund is spent on public works, but Barth pointed to a provision in the city code that gives the council the right to transfer any "unneeded balance" to the general fund.

Along with eliminating the homestead tax credit, Ballard has proposed expanding the boundaries of the IMPD taxing district to capture the entire county. That could mean a property-tax increase for homeowners outside of Center Township, if they aren't already hitting the state-mandated property-tax cap. The move would also offset the impact of eliminating the homestead tax credit on IPS.

The IMPD taxing district expansion is on the agenda Monday evening, and Barth said he expects it to pass. He hopes Ballard will take that as a compromise and leave the additional $7 million for IMPD on the table.

Republican Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer said her caucus hoped to revive the homestead credit elimination Monday. "I don't understand this vociferous opposition," she said of the majority party.

Pfisterer acknowledged that there's been opposition from schools, but she said they have back-up funding sources from the state. IMPD, meanwhile, would take an $8-million hit next year if the budget isn't level-funded.


  • no tax
    We as property owners in Marion County want to keep our property taxes low. We don't want the elimination of the Local Homestead Tax Credit. We will be putting our homes up for sale and get out of this county. They will not use the money for what it's intended for anyway. Another way of getting our money for what, crooked politics.

Post a comment to this story

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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.