The Governor's tax tour continued last night, with a stop in Hamilton County. I was fortunate enough to have been picked by Daniels to stand up and make comment.
I hammered a theme I have made my own since the idea of a Colts stadium first came to my attention about three years ago: Private enterprise, private funding. A convention cetner should also be private, by the way. Appropriate government is the management of roads and sewers, courts, police and other safety forces. Management of a convention center is not what any sincere person identifies as a core responsibility of government.
I asked the governor why he hadn't used the prestige of his office to attract high-level investors to back the project, and then offer a sale of bonds and stocks for smaller investors. In this way, only people who believe in the project need partcipate. Those who don't want to, don't have to just because they decided to have a burger or a steak.
The Governor's response floored me. From WTHR-TV 13:
Mike Cole (sic) suggested to Daniels that finding private investors would be a much better idea than adding another tax. The governor responded, "Your idea occurred to me as well. It didn't pan out."
He elaborated further that no investors would touch the project, because they didn't see it as a good profit opportunity. Well, if they won't go for it, why should the taxpayers? Time to chacge the subject. (Be sure to check out the video link "Town Hall Meetings" for my interlude with the Governor.) Today's Noblesville Daily Times also quotes me in their coverage.
It was fascinating to watch the local elected Republicans. They so clearly want to do the Governor's bidding, despite any notions that the GOP are home to fiscal conservatives. If I was an elected Republican (perish the thought), I would be grinding my teeth at the sight of him. Politically, Daniels has put the various County Councilors in one hell of a spot. He's asking them to vote for a tax, contrary to a lifetime of anti-tax rhetoric. But what the heck? These folks can sell their souls for the opportunity to be Mitch's lap dogs.
What is really the case is sheer arrogance. The room was about 60-40 against the tax. Councilors are saying that they are getting phone messages and emails in the same ratio against the tax. So, what will they do? Vote for the tax.
The arrogance goes like this: Whatcha gonna do? Vote Democrat? You'd sooner slide down a sliding board of razor blades into a pool of rubbing alcohol than vote Democrat. Whatcha gonna do? Vote Libertarian? You know they have no chance in hell.
This arrogance is precisely why fiscal conservatives MUST join the Libertarian Party. Otherwise, the GOP will have learned that they definitely can take fiscal conservatives for granted, forevermore.
For a re-statement of these views, see my letter in today's Noblesville Daily Times.
I commend the Hamilton County Council for voting against the wheel tax. That tax, combined with all projected revenues to be gained in the proposed countywide 1 percent food and beverage tax, would still fail to close the budget deficit. What is the point in raising taxes that fail to address the most pressing needs?
It will be interesting to continue to watch the council. The members seem to desperately want to pass the 1 percent food and beverage tax at the request of Governor Daniels. The question Hamilton County residents and restaurant owners need to ask is, will the councilors act on behalf of Hamilton County and defeat the tax, or, will they act as lapdogs for the governor and pass the tax?
Our county elected officials need to remember that they serve the people who elected them, and not another elected official who happens to be of the same party.
Mike Kole, Fishers