Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Brilliant Ideas of Citizen Budgeteers

From the Star’s Letters to the Editor:

So Mayor Bart Peterson needs to cut $28 million from the budget to help make ends meet. He blames the legislature for not passing his Indianapolis Works plan. That's hogwash. Peterson either has mismanaged the city's money or isn't able to forecast budgets properly. The shortfall obviously didn't happen overnight.
He wants to make taxpayers blame the legislature for these losses. Peterson could easily have reduced his salary or made cuts in other areas that wouldn't affect taxpayers. It's time for him to admit his mistakes and stop blaming others.

Cory Moyars

Cory Moyars suggests that Peterson solve Indy’s budget woes by cutting his own salary.

Well guess what. Peterson's salary is less than $28 million. In fact, in the 2004 Indianapolis budget, the TOTAL APPROPRIATION for executive/legislative salaries, health insurance, pensions, social security, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation totaled $8,134,561. So if Bart Peterson cut his own salary by 100% AND stopped paying all city government workers, he could only save approximately 30% of what Indy Works would have saved had the legislature simply approved the measure. It is simply impossible to save $28 million by making cuts that "wouldn't affect taxpayers."

I watched the life and death of Indy Works first-hand. What happened was that the Smaller-Government-Greater-Efficiency-Lower-Taxes-Republican-Party betrayed its own party philosophy in order to inflict political harm on a popular Democrat mayor. Republican leaders denied Peterson the ability to increase efficiency in his own jurisdiction, but instead allowed him to raise taxes on Marion County residents, knowing that Peterson would ultimately be held accountable for the tax increase while the legislature would get off scott-free. Republican leadership sent the bill to a summer study committee; this means that the bill will lie dormant until (a) Republicans can take credit for it and (b) Peterson has lost sufficient political capital due to the cuts in city services. It was a vindictive move by vindictive men (ahem, Hinkle and Bosma).

Cory Moyars is right about one thing. Peterson should have introduced Indy Works earlier. One year earlier, in fact, when the Democrats controlled the House. Then the fate of Indianapolis would have been shielded from the dangers of partisan rivalry and power-hungry committee chairmen.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter
Web Counter