Thursday, July 14, 2005

Peterson v. General Assembly, Round II

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, in his efforts to cut city expenses and balance his budget, has sued the General Assembly for payments from Indy to the state for the county's juvenile delinquents. According to Indiana's Constitution, the state is financially responsible for "the correction and reformation of juvenile offenders." Nevertheless, the General Assembly has been passing that bill to counties. Many counties, including Marion, have not been paying the state for juvenile expenses. And everything was fine. Enter the Republican-controlled House and Senate...

In this corner, wearing the red trunks, trained by Mitch "The Blade" Daniels, The Indiana General Assembly... which passed a law this session that would revoke property tax replacement credit (PTRC) to counties that did not pay the juvenile expenses in full. [PTRC is the mechanism by which Indiana citizens received property tax reductions following the outrage over the 2004 reassessment.] The General Assembly effectively kidnapped citizens' PTRC and held it as ransom over counties for the juvenile incarceration payments. GA to Peterson: Give us our juvie money or the PTRC gets it.

And in the other corner, wearing the blue trunks, still fired up from his round 1 loss, Mayor Bart Peterson... never one to be pushed around by 150 people in big leather chairs, has fought back by suing the General Assembly under the grounds that the original law is unconstitutional. If he wins, the city would not only be relieved of its current debt to the state, it would also receive a refund for all payments previously made to the state. Peterson to GA: I will keep the juvie money and the PTRC (no politician would do that to voters)...and hey, YOUR juvie money looks pretty good too. I'll take that as well. Have a nice day.

In this round, it looks like the hits are about even, so it is up to the Judges to decide who will take the title.


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