Ballard Proposes Billion-Dollar BudgetPosted: Updated:
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has introduced a $1 billion 2014 spending plan he says reduces the city's budget gap without an income tax increase. The proposal includes the elimination of the homestead property tax credit. Our partners at WTHR report the plan will face major scrutiny by the city-county council. They will hold approximately two months of hearings on the budget.
You can see the full budget by clicking here.
August 20, 2013
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Mayor Greg Ballard today unveiled his 2014 budget proposal to the City-County Council. The plan contains roughly flat spending from the 2013 budget and reduces the City’s estimated $55 million budget gap to $25 million by the end of 2014. It contains no income tax increase nor does it use one-time monies from TIF districts or the fiscal stability fund for on-going operations.
"Due to a lagging economy, we will continue to hold the line on spendingand avoid an increase in income taxes," said Mayor Ballard. "This budget reflects our community priorities. It maintains our competitive business environment and promotes our continued growth."
The Mayor’s 2014 Budget proposal contains $592 million in general fund spending, down from $594 million in 2013. It holds most budgets relatively flat with increases for the Marion County Clerk for administering the 2014 elections and Public Defender’s Office to match a state grant. Crime Prevention and Arts Grants remain at 2013 levels. The overall budget which includes self-funded, dedicated-tax-supported, and outside grant funded agencies remains flat at roughly $1 billion.
This budget prioritizes spending on police, fire, public safety and criminal justice with greater than 90% of general fund revenue dedicated to those agencies. The IMPD budget is fully-funded. IFD is projected to save $1 million through operational efficiencies. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is reduced by $5 million to reflect reduced county revenue and anticipated savings in arrestee medical care.
"Earlier this year, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and I announced a plan to return 156 officers to patrol duty and hire two new recruit classes of at least 50 officers in each of the next two years," said Mayor Ballard. "This budget supports those efforts and, most importantly, provides the funding to pay and equip these officers in the future."
In order to fund IMPD operations, Mayor Ballard asks the Council to reconsider elimination of the Homestead Property Tax Credit. Elimination of this credit will not change a homeowner’s constitutional protection against paying more than 1% in property taxes on their home. The change will provide over $11 million in on-going funding to IMPD. The Mayor also proposes the Council expand the IMPD special property tax district. This district was not expanded at the time of the police-sheriff merger. This move would generate over $1 million in on-going revenue to IMPD per year and again not impact the tax of a homeowner whose taxes are capped at 1%.
The 2014 Budget proposal closes the city’s estimated $55 million structural gap with:
$14.5 million in new revenue from expanding IMPD property tax district and elimination of Homestead Tax Credit
$5.9 million in budget reductions
$8 million in savings from anticipated healthcare cost increases that never materialized due to delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and traditional premium increases
$3 million by having agencies absorb the cost of contracted raises through savings in existing budget
$1.4 million through implementation of fuel surcharge for IMPD and IFD take-home vehicles
Use of $25 million in existing fund balances.
The City-County Council will now begin approximately two months of hearings on the budget. State law requires that it be passed prior to November 1, 2013.
Source: Office of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard