Delaware County Council
Michael Hicks brings to us another Tale of TIF Districts. In case you missed it…
The required report has been submitted to the State of Indiana for the year 2015. If you’re interested in looking at the financials of TIF districts in Delaware County have at it.delaware-county-tif-districts-2015 Just for the record, the TIF debt which is slated to be paid off in, oh, say, 25 or more years will more than likely never be retired.
You see, once the debt load is decreased, the borrowing begins again and TIF revenue is never returned to the taxing entities. This includes schools, libraries, general fund, etc.
So what good is a TIF? If managed properly TIF can be a plus for the community with infrastructure and an increase in businesses and jobs. Paying off the districts, and in the case of Muncie, the return of tax dollars would be around $4 million today.
Considering Muncie had to pass an income tax just to make ends meet in 2015, doubt seriously Muncie will be able to pa the debt off early. At least not while it continues to spend more than it takes in. No doubt, everyone involved in local TIF will be out of office the debt will be left for someone else to handle and the people left will be footing the bill.
Finally, Indiana has been on the list of States to watch during this primary season. Crazy, huh? Trump and Sanders cleaned up and we can expect heated debates all the way to November.
Here in Delaware County ,we saw some movement, an increase in voter turnout. Somewhere around 34%. The Republican ticket saw more votes than the Democrat ticket. And a relatively unknown candidate which never campaigned won the highest vote count and ousted a long-time sitting official.
We’re used to “ringer” candidates appearing on the ballot. You can spot them immediately. Mostly, it’s the brainchild of the local Democrat party. How do you spot a “ringer” also known as a “ghost” candidate?
First to qualify to be a ringer candidate on the Democrat ticket, there needs to be someone running who is despised by the local Dem leadership.
Second, the ringer candidate will alway appear before the unsupported candidate.
Third, the ringer candidate will not campaign, send out literature, rarely if ever have any signs. The ringer will not respond to any debate requests, phone calls from the paper, and not well known in the community.
Fourth, the ringer will have a sparse campaign finance report.
Sometimes the act of placing a “ghost” on the ballot does exactly what it was intended to do. Other times, it fails. Take for instance the ’08 primary when the Democrats successfully ousted incumbent John H. Brooke using a ringer candidate. Other candidates made it through the “ghosting” as we saw with Sue Errington in ’12 and Linda Gregory in ’15. The practice has been applied to several other elections.
In 2010, the Democrats upped their ante by getting ghost candidates to run on the Republican ticket. As far as we can tell, this was a first.
If you are up to reading the scary ghost story of 2016, please check out Larry Riley’s column.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. James Madison
Please take a look at Muncie’s financials.
These two reports ran in January 2016 and February 2016. The latest report shows a debt increase of $10 million.
Muncie revenue received for the years 2011 to 2015. The revenue sources includes property taxes, federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, fees, donations and grants.
Detailed Receipts 2011 to 2015
If you would like to look at the revenue streams the reports below give details. As you can see, property taxes have been on a decline since 2011. This should have been the first clue.
When revenue begins to decrease while debt increases it would be wise to consider the cost of debt and what it means. The first cost was public services which could only be fully funded with a tax increase. The second cost is economic development and it will only partially be funded with the recent tax increase.
You do need to consider the cost. If the debt can not be met, and there are no more taxes to increase what then? Fees? Fines? You don’t need to be in the dark when it comes to Local and State government finances any longer. In fact, it is imperative, for our future, to be well informed.
James Madison was a wise man giving wise advice which is still relevant today.
The deadline for filing ended on Friday. One surprise, Democrat James King filed on the Republican ticket. He switched parties and the Republican chair, Will Statom, gave the blessing. Last year, Stephen Smith with a record of Democrat voting, asked to be placed on the Republican ballot for mayor. Will Statom said no.
Not surprising is a candidate, Traci Allbee, who has been a fixture in past elections. She has no intention of campaigning or even serving the public. Her sole purpose is to garner votes in hopes to keep a candidate the party despises from making it through the primaries.
Every election, it’s the same old song and dance. Most are what we call “ringers” or “ghost candidates”. To keep things interesting, the tactics are changed slightly. Like the 2010 primaries when the Democrats filled the Republican spots with their very own candidates.
Delaware County Voting Polls Are Haunted! (click here)
The Republicans beat the Democrats at their own game by filling nearly every spot with their candidates. “Foul!” the DHQ cried. That’s funny, I don’t care who you are.
In 2011, Nora Powell filed with her maiden name and showed on the ballot as Nora “Evans” Powell. Again in 2015, she pulled out her maiden name to be listed at the top of the ballot, reverting back to Powell after the elections.
So, you say?
2011 saw another candidate who filed with her maiden name. Unfortunately, not being chosen by the DHQ elite, she was subjected to all manner of scrutinization. Nora was not held to the same standard.
Of course, Powell is not a “ringer” candidate by any means. Just one who hopes to cash in on the 7% of voters known to select the first name on the ballot. 2015 saw “ghost” candidates in an unsuccessful effort to unseat the popular Linda Gregory.
Let’s go back to 2008 when the Democrats were successful in removing an elected official by placing a “ringer” on the ballot. Bilbrey comes before Brooke. Bilbrey received 6,000 votes and never campaigned. DHQ was successful in getting Brooke out and their man Dunnuck in by employing the “ghost candidate” ungolden rule. Sidenote: Bilbrey later sued Mayor Dennis Tyler. Don’t know the outcome.
In addition, just a few months prior to the November ’08 election, the Democrat Headquarters went on a campaign to get Vote Centers instituted. The Republicans were not against Vote Centers. Just the timing and the implementation was close to the election date.
Democrats, of course, making it a political football claiming it was an effort to suppress the vote. Funny thing, after the election, with a Democrat Clerk and a Democrat-controlled election board, they never made any move to implement Vote Centers again.
Democrats as well as Republican are successful in inciting emotional outrage where none exists as well as claiming the Voter ID law limits voters. You need an ID to cash a check. Surely an election should fall under the same scrutiny. Based on unknown candidate Bilbrey’s 6,000 votes, not sure elections and its process all that important.
Simply put, placing fake candidates on the ballot is a covert manipulation of your vote. Sincerely hope people recognize it as such and just say no.
Gotta go…see you all when I see you all…
“At some point the State is going to have to step in and do something about TIFs,” said Bainbridge. “If they don’t the whole State could turn into one. They might come to the point where they have to do what California did, and ban them altogether.”
Please see the links listed below:
Revisiting TIFs (PDF)
2015 Indiana Tax Incentive Evaluation (TIF evaluation begins on page 97)
In light of the recent adoption of Local Option Income Tax (LOIT), this may be the perfect time to examine the fiscal health of our city. The report covers 2013 and 2014 and does a comparison between the two years. Being an informed citizen is a good thing, it’s hard to pull the wool over eyes that see.
In addition, knowledge is a tool to prepare for events which can affect a lifestyle. Lowering Your Income Tax (LOIT) which was first mentioned by the Muncie mayor and adopted 14 days later by Muncie City Council is one such thing. Two weeks is barely enough time to get the information out to the masses.
One interesting aspect is the information on the city revenue has been in the hands of nine city council members, one mayor and one controller for three years. Yet, there was never a word said at council meetings, in the newspaper or during State of the City addresses. It was all puppy dogs and happiness.
In the ranks of the people, the concern about the finances was growing. How in the world is the city paying for all this? No one knew. None of this has taken us off guard, seeing it coming down the pike. Interesting the very ones with information at their fingertips either never saw it (odd) or ignored it (likely).
Do need to recognize the speed in which the city racked up $65 million in debt as well as the lightening speed in which a tax was imposed upon every working stiff.
Please feel free to take a look at the fiscal health report. You will find in nearly every category a decrease in revenue and an increase in expenditures. An increase in government owned acreage, an increase in TIF, an increase in local taxes. It’s business as usual.
House Bill 1018
Introduced House Bill (H)
Authored by Rep. Robert Cherry.
Tax increment financing. Provides that if a redevelopment commission adopts a declaratory resolution or amendment after June 30, 2015, that establishes, renews, or expands an allocation provision or area, the base assessed value used to determine the amount of allocated tax proceeds for the redevelopment district must be increased each year so that the incremental assessed value is 50% of the incremental assessed value in the allocation area without the increase. Provides that for the allocation area in Marion County that is identified as the Consolidated Allocation Area, the expiration date for the allocation area is June 30, 2026, or the last date of any obligations that are outstanding on July 1, 2016, whichever is later.
You may be asking why the dislike of Tax Increment Financing. Used properly, it has the potential for economic impact. Unfortunately, too many Redevelopment Commissions have abused the funds. Read the rest of this entry »