Saturday, November 15, 2008

selling yourself out for $12 a person

when i first starting hearing the hype about mayor ballard's new plan to reduce the county income tax, i was puzzled. sure, then-candidate ballard campaigned against 2007's COIT increase, but i've long maintained that now-mayor ballard knows the city needs that money way too much to undo it. so i was quite confused to hear about plans for a COIT decrease. was our mayor dumber than i'd given him credit for?

but then i heard the details of the plan and it all made sense:

Mayor Greg Ballard has introduced a proposal to lower the county income tax by three-hundredths of a percentage point, to 1.62 percent.

The adjustment would give a $6 million break to taxpayers. That works out to about $12 a year for the average $40,000-a-year wage-earner in Indianapolis.

that's right, the mayor wants to reduce the tax by three hundredths of a percent! the average taxpayer would see a whopping twelve dollars per year of savings.

to put it in perspective, reporter brendan o'shaunessey probably earned more money writing the story about the tax decrease in the star than he will get back. in fact, i would say that the copy editor who worked on the story probably earned more editing the piece than she'd get back from the tax plan—except this is the indy star we're talking about, and i'm not sure they even use copy editors anymore.

this tax decrease is literally not worth the paper it's written on. by that i mean that the cost of writing it, printing it, voting on it, etc will cost as much money as it will save!

what the hell is the point of a $12 tax decrease? it's like ballard was so dead-set on cutting this tax that he's determined to do it, no matter how paltry the reduction is. i'd rather the city kept my $12 and used it to make up for the budget cuts in arts, parks, or many other areas.

never mind that we're in the midst of a recession (if not a depression) and that city budgets are going to get progressively tighter over the next few years thanks to the property tax caps (which he begged for). ballard's going to have a hell of a time making budget cuts over the next few years to pay for everything (he's promised not to raise taxes); now he's making his job even harder by cutting taxes, even if by a miniscule amount. he's shooting himself in the foot, and for what? $12 a person!

i've heard of cheap political stunts, but $12 per taxpayer is about as cheap as you can get.


Anonymous said...

Only you would view this as negative. You should send $12 to the city parks.

At HFFT we're suggesting that folks donate their tax savings to our food pantries as a way of supporting the mayor's food drive initiative, and to demonstrate that Americans don't need to be forced (through taxation) to step up to take care of our neighbors in society.

Anonymous said...

I was just about to say that I'll send an extra $12 dollars to the parks, above and beyond what I donate to KIB in both money and time.

Considering how many people are starving, and how statistics show that middle class people give more percentage-wise to charity than do the rich, Americans do indeed need to be forced in some way to step up to take care of their neighbors. Taxation, public shaming... I don't care how it gets done, but it needs to be done.