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Miller failed Brownsburg

March 22, 2014
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

I am writing to express my disappointment with state Sen. Pete Miller’s sponsorship and shepherding of Senate Bill 118 through the legislative process. The bill guts the tax increment finance district Brownsburg relies heavily on to fund current and future infrastructure.

Brownsburg residents and appointed and elected officials lobbied Miller to change the bill. He was made aware of the severe ramifications to our community.

A week before the vote, I met with him to discuss the bill. While we disagreed on several issues, we concurred on what Miller described as “valid concerns,” and that the legislation needed to be changed. The final bill contained none of those.

Many, myself included, simply asked for a pause to study the issue over the summer and fix the problems.

Miller’s colleagues even attempted to warn him of the ramifications to Brownsburg. During the debate, Sen. John Broden, who represents the South Bend area, read a list of communities that would see their ability to improve infrastructure impacted. Among them was Brownsburg.

Miller did see fit to exempt one community from the devastating effects of SB 118: downtown Indianapolis. This means Avon (which also relies heavily on TIF dollars to fund infrastructure) and Brownsburg will be at an immense disadvantage when it comes to building a climate to attract first-class businesses, jobs and amenities.

In IBJ, Miller cited the exemption because downtown Indy was an economic-development engine and shared revenue with local government entities. In our meeting, I made clear that not only would TIF account for nearly $1 billion of new assessed value with the completion of the Ronald Reagan Parkway, but that we also have an agreement to share dollars with other entities.

The agreement even earned praise from Brownsburg Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. Jim Snapp at the March redevelopment commission meeting.

What makes the harm to Brownsburg and Avon even worse is when your own senator has done the harm, is fully aware, and appears indifferent, as was evident when Miller told one Brownsburg constituent via Twitter, “Such is life when balancing conflicting interests of constituents on a complex issue.”

Residents and business owners of Avon and Brownsburg deserve to know what “conflicting interests” Miller was referencing.

Which leads us to the “constituents” he alluded to. Who in Avon or Brownsburg urged the passage of this bill, and which of them was so insistent the downtown Indy exemption be included?

Rob Kendall, Brownsburg Town Council member

Brownsburg Redevelopment Commission member

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  • Sounds similiar to the annexation issue
    How are the conflicting interests in this story any different to the Town of Brownsburgs annexation of areas where the residents have clearly asked not to be included in the annexation? A town annexing areas that have asked not to be annexed? What is the difference? The difference this time is it increases the towns revenue of course. We did not ask to be annexed yet with conflicting interests ( town wanting more money) and the citizens guess what the town council voted for? Such is life eh?
  • Conflict of Interest?
    Mr. Kendall brings up a very valid question for Sen. Miller. While legislators often have to balance conflicts when a proposed bill may have both positive and negative consequences for his/her myriad of constituents, that legislator has to use his/her best judgment to make a decision. But, in a case such as this, where all the entities which Sen. Miller represents stand to be negatively impacted by a proposed bill, and actively voiced opposition to said bill, what exactly are the "conflicting interests" that cause him to vote for it? Mr. Miller, the people who elected you to office deserve an answer.

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