MAKES US PROUD!Gosh, it feels so much more like freedom to praise than to constantly need to criticize the failure of our politicians to own their words, obey the law as written, and put our interests first.
Ed Coleman City Councilor At-Large
Ed Coleman City Councilor At-Large
On Monday, our city council approved a balanced budget with promise of staying in the black.
Tax activists worked constantly and very hard last summer to clean house in city hall. We knew we were in real trouble when we caught wind that Peterson was borrowing the day-to-day operating expenses from the bond bank and there were mysterious blank pages and unexplained holes in his budget.
And as I will say over and over until everyone in Indiana knows it, the bond bank uses our homes as collateral and the bond indebtedness caused our property taxes in Marion county to skyrocket.
It was truly frightening to attend Peterson's July 2007 COIT city council meeting and watch as the city's bean counter attempted to snow the People and presented a bogus plan to justify the 65% county tax increase he desperately needed to cram through our wallets. I can smell fear and Peterson was panicked to get that COIT approved, no matter what the cost.
Bart Peterson's "plan" was half-baked spin promising the money would fund 100 more law enforcement officers. He was careful not to put it writing. I like to say there are two kinds of lawyers, those that get into law because they love defending the Constitution and those that desire to get around it. I'll let you surmise which brand of lawyer Peterson is.
Peterson used public safety to cram that COIT down our throats knowing full well the city was operating in mountains of red ink. He needed the money to make the payments on his lavish political spending and the corporate real estate deals that exempted millionaires from paying property tax while saddling us with the deficits. It's not fair that some pundits try to blame Mayor Ballard for not having money for those promised police officers.
At the COIT presentation, I was fortunate enough to be seated next to an economist and businessman who whispered to me that nothing about the numbers in the mind numbing two hour presentation meant anything. In other words, Mayor Peterson figured he could pull another snow job on ordinary citizens with layman's knowledge of math, municipal budgets, and accounting.
2008 City Council Passes Budget with Spending Cuts
Christine Scales and Ed Coleman deserve extra credit for getting the budget passed. They earned our kudos and thanks because they broke from the herd to go the direction of a practical conservative fiscal policy on sheer faith that their sensible spark would catch fire. They stood up against Hamilton county resident and Gracie Communications Lisa Sirkin's attempt unduly alarm arts supporters in our county to influence our local budget via her local social media network.
Ed Colemann stood up for spending cuts, not only with his vote but for this statement he made to the council and the citizens they serve. We are privileged to publish it. Thank you Ed for honoring us.
Ed Coleman's Statement to the City Council
September 22, 2008
September 22, 2008
Thank you Mr. President.
As with all of you, I wish I could have been in support of all portions of the Mayor's budget this evening. Specifically I have grave concerns about the City's arts funding programs. Specifically put, I believe that any government whether federal, state, or local should take care of the basic needs of our citizens before using tax dollars to fund non-essential services. In a time when the costs of public safety, road infrastructure, and fuel are skyrocketing, we must put priorities first. I believe that taxpayers are wise, and those that value arts programs will indeed support them, but do so privately. In those tough budget times, I would have rather seen the money given to the arts spent on our decaying roads or hiring more full-time police and firefighters.
While I do not support the arts funding as proposed, I do believe that the Mayor's budget, as a whole, has made too many positive steps for me to have voted no. The budget, for the first time in years, actually includes the true spending costs of government, fully funds our obligations, eliminates structural deficits, and will save money in the long term. Because of this budget, future councils will not be forced to choose between increasing taxes to fund basic services because our city chose to continuously and unwisely roll over debt. Instead, we will be able to devote our funds to services, not debt payments.
My vote is in favor of fiscal responsibility: an open and transparent budget that is balanced. This budget is the first in many years to begin the long process of returning our city to long-term financial health. This is not a vote for public funding of the arts. Next year, the Council will deliberate on the appropriation of city funds reserved in this budget for the arts, and I will, along with my fellow councilors, have the opportunity to vote with my conscience and against public dollars going to the arts. That is why, despite my reservations on smaller programs like the arts, I feel this budget must be supported, and I applaud my colleagues who supported it as well.