"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NW Times editorial reports local politicans are whining like babies about tax cuts

This editorial says it all. It's a good thing the Lake County Tea Party is coming up on March 1st sponsored by Team Hammond Taxpayers' Group. --HFFT

FROM NW Times.com
I was talking shop a couple weeks ago with an East Chicago police officer and we agreed as a result of a proposed property tax cap, there will be threats by politicians to cut public safety.

As it turns out, we were psychics."Our response time will worsen and there will be deaths," Hammond Fire Chief (and former Democratic city chairman) Dave Hamm said on a Feb. 11 trip to Indianapolis to protest Gov. Mitch Daniels' plan to cap property taxes and raise the sales tax.

"Do not take that as a threat. It's just a matter of fact. It's going to happen."Cut my budget and people will die! Their blood will be on your hands, Mitch!

Bull-loney. You will accept that only if you accept that a mayor will make his deepest cuts at the public safety level.

If the city is in trouble, why did Hamm's salary jump $15,000 in January? Why did Police Chief Brian Miller's jump the same amount? I know most companies facing a shortfall don't increase salaries -- even for executives -- by 24 percent.

If the city is in trouble, why is Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. talking as recently as late January about a new city hall downtown? You don't propose multi-million dollar capital projects out of one side of your mouth and talk about gutting your police and fire departments out of the other.If the city is in trouble, why was City Attorney Kris Kantar paid more than $10,000 in the first two weeks of the year? And why were five lawyers working on litigation over the closure of the health department, including McDermott's campaign manager, Kevin Smith?

Smith discounts his fee for the city, but he doesn't have to worry about his client paying.If the city is in trouble, why is there a $250,000 legal aid clinic funded by McDermott with casino money? Because it's been staffed by lawyers like Lisa Berdine and Kris Costa-Sakelaris, both of whom are related to former city council members?

If the city is in trouble, why are some council members fighting McDermott's decision to close the city's health department and allow the county to take over the $648,000 responsibility? When the household income shrinks, you eat more meat loaf and less steak.

It's also disingenuous to neglect to mention Hammond, while losing property tax money, will be getting a big chunk of that back in the form of the increase in sales tax.Hammond doesn't need to cut cops and firefighters. It needs the right priorities.Now where have I heard that before?

The opinions are solely those of the writer. See story comments .
The columnist can be reached at markk@nwitimes.com or (219) 933-4170.

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