It starts at the top and trickles downward, landing like you-know-what at your front door.
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels is strongly touting his plan to fund a stadium and convention center with a package of taxes that would hit Hoosiers in ways they couldn't be counted on to keep track of.
Restaurants are targeted for the tax. Thank goodness the Restaurant & Hospitality Association of Indiana is blasting back. From the Indy Star:
"This is a bad way to fund a good project," said John Livengood, president of the Restaurant & Hospitality Association of Indiana.Daniels doesn't appear to be backing down.
Livengood said the tax would be particularly harmful to those with low and fixed incomes because they spend a higher percentage of their money on food. He complained that restaurants were being singled out.
Livengood's reaction came a day after Daniels announced he was nearing agreement with city and state officials on a financing plan for the venture. A regional 1 percent tax on restaurant tabs -- as well as on certain prepared grocery store meals -- would pay for much of the project.Daniels is investing a good amount of energy making the case in favor of new taxes. Republicans in the suburban counties are puppies at their master's feet.
At an afternoon news conference, Daniels defended his plan, which also is expected to include increases in hotel, car rental and ticket taxes. He downplayed the suggestion that a new restaurant tax would hurt those businesses.
"I don't think it's a strong argument, and it's vastly outweighed by the possible upside of public good," he said.
But Daniels has garnered support for his initiative in recent days from officials in the so-called doughnut counties surrounding Indianapolis, which would have the option of implementing the new restaurant taxes.Here's something to take note of: Republicans have moved away from describing themselves as fiscal conservatives. They now say that they are "fiscally responsible". That is code for, "We'll balance the budget, but it will include more spending and more taxes".
Although the tax would be optional, Daniels expects most of the seven counties that touch Marion County to adopt it. They would keep half of the revenue and contribute the other half, up to $5 million a year, to pay off bonds on the stadium project. The tax, meanwhile, would raise about $17 million for the project within Indianapolis.
The mayor's office has pegged the project's overall price tag at about $900 million. It likely would be paid off over three decades.
On Wednesday, Daniels met with suburban county leaders to sell them on the idea of a regional funding source for the stadium project. Hamilton County Council Vice President Steve Schwartz said he was one of many Republican officials who were skeptical as they headed to the meeting but left sold on the
Schwartz said Daniels agreed to make a personal appearance in front of the Hamilton County Council if that should be needed.
"To me, that sends a message to our council and our community that he is devoted and he believes in this," Schwartz said.
Then again, some Republicans are so desperate to spend more tax dollars, that they are willing to take their chances with the balanced budget, and fiscal irresponsibility. There is no word a politician likes to utter more than the word "yes".
Two members of the Indiana Senate had a delightful exchange over state funding increases for schools and medicaid. The discussion involved raising new taxes on alcohol and tobacco. From the Noblesville Daily Times:
The revenue-raising proposals will be included in a separate bill and voted on before the budget plan receives a Senate vote. Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, acknowledged that much of the new spending in the proposed budget assumes that bill will pass.We have a problem. Kenley is a spender, plain and simple. He must say "yes" to increased spending, no matter what for. It's a crazy time when Kenley can make Vi Simpson look fiscally responsible.
"What happens if it doesn't pass?" asked Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington.
"Then we've got a problem," Kenley said.