Sunday, November 18, 2007

Marion County income tax hike may be revisited

By Brendan O'Shaughnessy

With just hebdomads left before Republicans take control of the Capital Of Indiana City-County Council, Democrats on the council are discussing efforts to revoke or "sunset" the county income taxation addition they pushed through in August.

WHAT'S NEXT There are two more than City-County Council meetings before Democrats concede control to Republicans. Proposals introduced in the first, on Dec. 3, could be passed at the 2nd on Dec. 17. Both are scheduled for 7 p.m. astatine the City-County Building, 200 E. American Capital St.

Reversing or putting a clip bounds on the taxation addition would coerce Republicans to fully ain the political hot white potato by ballot for it in January or July as the lone manner to fund a city-county budget without drastic service cuts.

Partisan mudslinging on the issue began before Election Day and have continued into the passage time period before the Republicans take over the council and the mayor's office.

Another issue that have cropped up since the election: whether to maintain the Police Department in the custody of the Democratic sheriff or set it under the control of the incoming Republican mayor, Greg Ballard.

Last week, Sheriff Frank Sherwood Anderson called for a referendum vote on the law enforcement control question, which he said have go a "political football."

Democrats state that whatever action they take between now and the passage will be in the best involvements of the city, not to exact political revenge.

"The message we experience electors sent was that they don't desire taxes," said Joanne Sanders, the council frailty president. "We decided it would behoove us to discourse what we could make about it."

Lincoln Plowman, a Republican who will be the bulk leader in January, said presentations and council hearings made it clear that taxpayers didn't desire the taxation addition this summer.

"The Democrats knew what the taxpayers were saying previously," Plowman said. "They did not listen. If it was the right thing for the city manager and Democrats to make then, why is it not now?"

Sanders said she doesn't understand why the Republicans would object to anything the Democrats make about the tax.

"These are the same Republicans who said we don't necessitate it (the income taxation increase)," Sanders said. "You can't have got it both ways."

Mayor Baronet Peterson asked the council in July to go through a 65 percentage addition in the county income tax, to 1.65 percent, to pay for longstanding fire and police force pension liabilities, criminal justness improvements and other anti-crime measures. Two Republicans joined 13 Democrats to go through the proposal 15-13.

Most Republicans criticized the measurement in visible light of soaring place taxation bills, while most Democrats defended it as necessary for Peterson's $90 million populace safety plan. For a individual earning $50,000 a year, taxations went up $325 a twelvemonth in October, bumping the yearly sum to $825 from $500.

Sanders said a state law that made the taxation addition possible authorizations that a 3rd of it be put aside for place taxation relief. She said Democrats would look at the other two-thirds of the increase.

Ballard said he hoped Democrats won't do major alterations without consulting him. He said he asked them not to subscribe new contracts, do assignments or lift the metropolis hiring freeze.

"We have got asked, and the Peterson disposal have agreed, to give us a caputs up about important substances they be after to move on before they go forth office," Ballard said. "We both share the end of a smooth transition, including some of his administration's unfinished business."

Peterson was in New Orleans last week, but Deputy Mayor Steve Joseph Campbell said the disposal would confer with Ballard's squad about any determinations with long-term consequences.

One illustration would be choosing a developer for the former Market Square Sphere site; Peterson have been mulling respective proposals for months.

But whether the Democrats can move in unison is in question.

Sherron Franklin, a Democratic council member who often broke with her party, said contemplations about "passing anything out of spite" may be moot. She said she would not back up any major alterations in her last calendar month and a one-half in office.

Vernon Brown, a Democratic council member, also said he would not back up a abrogation of the county income tax.

"If we make any initiatives, it will be with the incoming council and mayor," Brown said. "It will be to travel the metropolis forward."

A batch of last-minute activity was seen in 1999, when Republicans lost the mayor's business business office to Peterson but retained a slender bulk on the council.

At the year's concluding meeting, Republicans passed three power-shifting measures that critics called the "midnight proposals." Each took powerfulness from the incoming mayor's office and gave it to physical things that Republicans would still control.

One stripped-down the city manager of authorization to name the manager of the Marion County Justice Agency. A 2nd took away a mayoral assignment to the county ethical motive board, tipping the balance to the council. A 3rd shifted budget money for the county lawyer from the city manager to the council.

Departing Mayor Sir Leslie Stephen Goldsmith stopped two of the measurements with the first vetoes of his eight-year tenure and brokered a via media on the third. He also decided to pulverize Market Square Sphere so that unpopular determination wouldn't be left to Peterson.

Other undertakings completed in the last years of the Goldsmith disposal include blessing of an amphitheatre at the South end of the Business District Canal and an business business office parkland on the North end, and the Clarian People Mover elevated railing system.

Campbell said Peterson would wish to wrap up up a figure of in progress undertakings before leaving office, but he declined to listing them.

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