Friday, April 11, 2008

star ed board: ballard's promise a "rookie error"

remember yesterday when i was craving some critical analysis of the mayor's state-of-the-city speech? well, it's not perfect, but here's the indy star ed board:

Mayor Greg Ballard this week, in raising the possibility of repealing last year's increase in the local option income tax, promised more than he likely can deliver in the foreseeable future.

Ballard, delivering the State of the City address on only his 100th day in office, did hedge the promise, making it contingent upon the General Assembly approving the Kernan-Shepard commission's recommendations for local government consolidation.

Ballard is certainly correct in supporting the commission's proposals, which include eliminating township governments and cutting by thousands the number of elected officials. The panel's recommendations offer taxpayers throughout the state their best hope for halting and even reversing rapid increases in local government spending.

But state legislators haven't rushed to embrace the bulk of the recommendations. If and when the proposals are approved, the reforms will take time to implement, and savings will take even longer to materialize.

in other words, mayor ballard went up there and promised to do something that he knows he won't be able to do for years, if ever. not bright. of course, he painted himself into a corner will all those impossible-to-achieve campaign promises. here's how the editorial concludes:

Floating the tax repeal promise, no matter how it was hedged, was, however, a rookie error. If the budget numbers someday make the tax cut possible, then, by all means, make the move. But even the mayor admits the city isn't there yet, and may not be anytime soon.

This was one applause line that could haunt the city, and the mayor, for years to come.

i was hoping for more—this only criticizes one statement, and pretty much ignores the rest of the speech (and the mayor's other mistakes)—but it's something. maybe the ed board wanted to make up for yesterday's misleading headline.

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