Now that campaign season is rolling around our Mayor Ballard — whose original campaign charge was all about repealing property taxes in Indiana — is hauling out one of his favorite talking points: claiming he held the line on new taxes. Ballard was whipped into office on the froth of the anti-tax rabble after Governor Mitch Daniel’s repeated property tax bungles statewide.
In reality? Not at all true on the “holding the line” claim. The Indianapolis Times puts together the facts, with the help of an observant letter-writer (Melissa De Groff) to the Indianapolis Star:
The statement in the editorial “Recycling beats trash talking,” March 27, that Mayor Greg Ballard has held the line on tax increases simply doesn’t hold water. Ballard was elected on widespread anti-tax sentiment, vowing to repeal the bipartisan-supported income tax hike enacted to fund 200 additional police officers, and promising no new taxes during his administration.
It looked good in the paper. But more than two years into Ballard’s term, Indianapolis residents are still waiting. Instead of a full repeal of the income tax, Ballard delivered a fraction of his promise. Instead of no new taxes, Ballard has solicited 30 tax increases: one sewer rate hike, two water rate hikes and 27 user-fee hikes (“Indianapolis wants to boost user fees,” Dec. 23, 2009). And instead of “holding the line” on city spending, each of Ballard’s budgets have increased the property tax burden on residents.
World-class cities need to push forward continuously, like Eli Lilly and EnerDel do in the corporate world. That’s why additional recycling opportunities merit additional exploration. But “holding the line” won’t cut it, especially when Ballard hasn’t earned the praise.