Wednesday, August 12

Forget It, Jake.

OKAY, so you wouldn't know it from the pages of the online Indianapolis Racist Beacon, which was more interested in the breakup of something called Brooks & Dunn, some law firm I'm guessing, but the Indianapolis City-County Council solved, or "solved", the funding problems for the Capital Improvement Board (Motto: " o, Taxation Without Representation!") by raising the hotel tax 1%, plus some stocking-stuffer accounting shenanigans.

Now, just to remind you why you might care, despite your not caring, the CIB is one of those "practical" government solutions to the problems of wealthy people being not quite wealthy enough which Republican-controlled governments are fond of making in between complaining about Taxes on the Little Guy and The Size of Government When Democrats Control It. It dates to the mayoralty of one Richard "This Town Ain't Big Enough For White People To Control The Vote" Lugar, the 20th century Lincoln who extended the franchise to the suburbs, and solved the concurrent problem of Old Money losing its downtown property values by establishing (with the State's imprimatur) a private corporation with the right to raise and spend tax monies. It was intended (or "intended", maybe) at first to knock down a few blighty blocks near the Statehouse and put up a Convention Center. But when more money (from the first hotel/restaurant tax) than expected came in the "surplus" cash was too tempting to permit a strict adherence to the law, as in paying off the project it was intended for. And the "excess" was funneled into other projects, including rehabbing privately-owned office buildings and building a stadium for the football team we hadn't stolen yet.

And it's this the crotchety linear-thinker remembers when he sees commenters drawn by the Racist Beacon confidently announcing It's all the Democrats' fault! as though Indiana Democrats were real Democrats, as though there were such a thing anymore, even nationally, and as though when there was it approached the combination of Stalin, Dr. Mengele, and Margaret Sanger of the popular pin-headed Republican imagining.

So at the beginning of the year the CIB announces it's about $45 million in the hole, the bulk of the shortfall being the operating expenses for the new Football Barn, which seem to've been left out of the process of creating it (at least as it came to pass; Democrats, who ran the city at the time, say the expenses were in their bill before Mitch "The Bantam Menace" Daniels and his hench Legislature took the thing over); another $15 million comes from the Pacers demanding we give them that much by taking over their operating expenses, too. And looey-bird Marine (ret) Gomer Pyle II, the accidental Mayor of Indianapolis, was basically spanked by the same bunch when he had to come asking for a little help with the money, before being made to stand at attention while the Bonzai Governor crowed about it.

Now, look: the LA water-rights grab was nearly a century ago. The St. Francis Dam collapsed ninety-one years ago. You'd think some sense-memory of that would still be fresh, especially as one of the great American films of all time takes off from there. And you'd be wrong. The bozos swept back into power in the nation's first Astroturf Teabagging Festival just raised taxes so we can give more money to the Irasay and Simon clans. You'd expect something akin to the same tub-thumping news coverage the Property Tax Protests got two years back. And you'd be wrong.

And you'd be wrong! Channel 8, last night, admitted that the increased hotel plus the increased sales taxes, now totaling 17%, put us among the highest in the nation, higher than (their figures) San Antonio, Denver, or Chicago. But But Butbutbut! Since our room rates are lower that theirs, we're still the winners!

Now then, you might be looking at that list thinking, "I didn't know those cities were in competition with Indianapolis", especially as two of them are at least twice its size, all of them possess indigenous cultures, or any other sort of culture, including having something other than Olive Garden win Best Restaurant in readers' polls, and one of them is not even technically part of the United States.* You might be imagining that the list was cherry-picked and read on the air without further consideration. And, well, maybe. It's a curious assortment, but a quick look at Cincinnati, Nashville, Columbus, Louisville, and St. Louis shows roughly equal room + tax totals, though I doubt Naptown would wind up at the absolute bottom of the list. Bear with me; unlike local news operations, I do my own research.

But then, this is not my point. My point is that I don't recall ever once seeing such a comparison two years ago, when the tax raisers in question were the previous Democratic administration and Council. And that money went to pay off police and fire pension obligations, not Larry Bird's execrable career stats in personnel management, or Jim-Bob Irsay's guitar collection fetish.

The Racist Beacon seems to've left all mention of the thing to its political columnist, who said, among other things (and no, I couldn't've made this up):

• Mayor Gomer's a hero for proposing a balanced budget. (Balanced by cutting every city department except Public Safety by 10%. This is the sort of "achievement" only someone with a pocket calculator, and a complete lack of regard for health, hospitals, streets, sanitation, schools, parks, and the arts, could have accomplished.)

• If you live in Marion County you won't care about a Hotel tax increase unless you're an adulterer. Really.

• Democrats--only one of whom crossed over--are the real hypocrites, because after being voted out of power in a Racist Beacon-assisted tax revolt, they were honor-bound to vote to raise taxes again.

• Plus their former leader is a big poopy brain.

Really. These people benefit personally and professionally from our socialized sports teams, and they benefit directly from lowered property taxes. And they're about as likely to recuse themselves as Justice Scalia is.

*You argue with 'em. I'm through.


heydave said...

When I look at what passes for the 4th estate these days, I almost wish there was some entity eager to pull the plug on its citizenry. And that it takes my suggestions.

StringonaStick said...

Why yes, we are a nation that funds its stadia, but its schools, hospitals, etc? Nah, that would be socialist!