Hopefully our new readers in the arts community will try to get their heads around what is happening in the real world to the real flesh and blood people all around them.
Let me explain City Economics 101 and the bond banks to you, our new arts reader. And trust me, if I can understand it, so can you.
Peterson BORROWED from the bond bank to pay our city's day-to-day operating expenses which included paying for his arts council.
Schools BORROW from the bond bank to buy everything and anything they decide they want in the name of "education" and "our children".
Government BORROWS from the bond bank usually with little to no citizen oversight.
The BOND DEBT that is the primary culprit for our increased property tax and the city's finances being out of balance. We have more on the books to spend than we take in.
Our property is literally collateral used to secure the bond debt, although the lawyers won't call it collateral per se...but that's really what it is because the bond debt is secured based on the property tax rate.
And if you don't pay the tax, they take your house, sell it at auction, and tax your back taxes to pay the bond bank.
Certain law firms in the city make a whole lot of money off the paperwork associated with our bond debt. That's a story to get into another time. Probably the arts lovers won't like those mean, greedy, lawyers who suck up our money anymore than they like funding sports.
The arts, the sports stadiums, the Taj Mahal schools, and everything else government decides to buy on credit always costs more than they project it will. Just look at the library and the stadium as examples. Both went at least 30% over budget. Heck, we don't even know how we were going to cover the projected $20 million operating budget. Evidently Bart Peterson's people did not cover that part of the deal. The taxpayer will likely get stuck with it.
Who knows. Maybe the arts people will help the taxpayer activists help fight the sports taxation one day. We like that funding even less than the arts.
But lets get back to the bond bank.
We never pay the principle we owe the bond bank, just the minimum payment. Then we borrow more every time a politician or a board of political insiders wants to buy something.
Do you see the problem yet? It's like having maxed out credit cards with staggering interest and minimum payments.
This was not so bad until Marion county's population started to decline due to the fact that people move to the outer counties to escape the crime. Now they leave to flee high taxes too. This led to abandoned houses. Did you know we have about 15,000 abandoned houses by some counts? No one really knows for sure how many there are.
Now that 1/3 of the mortgages signed in the last 5 years in Marion County are upside down, we have people that will literally just walk away from their house. Why pay for something with high taxes that you will never own? So that's even more property off the tax roll.
We also have high property tax increases because Peterson set up huge TIF districts (exempt from property tax) for his buddies in real estate and politics. Those guys don't pay tax.
Ever hear of a tax abatement? Well Peterson made sure some of his friends got those too. The guy (or gal) that gets to live way on top of the Conrad Hotel in a $1 milion dollar condo gets a property tax abatement courtesy of Peterson. A whole lot of other people get them too. Bart made sure his real estate developer friends at Mapleton Fall Creek got abatements. That helped his friends sell those houses faster. And it wasn't all bad to get some market priced housing up there either. But it does make the bills higher for the rest of us.
That means the rest of us have a bigger share of the burden because we were not favored political insider elites of the Mayor. Maybe some of you were. I don't know.
What I do know is that for some reason that pesky crime is not disappearing even though Peterson borrowed the arts budget from the bond bank to fund the arts to engage children with the purported benefit of reducing crime.
The arts will go on. As you say, it's just a small amount anyway. Most of the arts funding is done privately anyway and everyone knows it.
Don't think this blog just pick on the arts. Dig into the archives. Look at what we do with the educrats.
It's called oversight of the government. That's our job as taxpayers.
We're making progress. Mayor Ballard, who we supported, told us the city will spend LESS than last year and got a standing ovation for it during the budget presentation.
Until now, I'm grateful I have no credit card debt and my car is paid for. I just hope the furnace doesn't go out or my car has a major problem. Because right now things are scary tight since all my taxes (sales, county, and property) went up overnight.
That's what happens when citizens don't know about bond debt and the insider greed and politics that feeds it.
--Melyssa, for HFFT