Letter to the Editor: Bipartisan Resolution Opposes HJR-6

October 27, 2013

Below is a Letter to the Editor, published in the Indianapolis Star, regarding a bipartisan resolution opposed to HJR-6.

Letter to the Editor
Councillors Barth, Mansfield, Adamson, Hunter

Bipartisan Resolution Opposes HJR-6

When the Indianapolis the City/County Council convenes on November 11, 2013 this bipartisan group of Councillors will present a resolution that opposes HJR-6, the proposed constitutional amendment that defines marriage and bans all civil unions. We urge the state legislature to defeat HJR-6.

The truth is state law is already very clear – in Indiana, marriage is only legal between a man and woman; there is no need to amend the constitution to make that clearer. We believe that amending our state’s constitution is a serious undertaking that can have consequences for generations. This amendment would result in a negative impact on our state’s well-deserved reputation for “Hoosier Hospitality” and diminish our value as a business friendly location.

The possibility for lasting economic impact is real. Publicly traded, Indiana-based, corporate giants like Eli Lilly & Co. and Cummins have made it clear that HJR-6 is wrong for Indiana businesses with a senior Lilly executive recently saying that “putting HJR 6 into our state’s most important legal document presents a barrier to us in recruiting and retaining that great talent.”

Closer to home, the very broad language of HJR-6 could erase the gains Indianapolis has made in recent years by jeopardizing several existing and important city/county ordinances, including the domestic partnership ordinance recently passed by the Council and signed by the Mayor.

We believe that our city – and state – is a welcoming place to live, work and play. By introducing this resolution we are encouraging our colleagues in the General Assembly to agree with us and to vote against HJR-6 when the legislature convenes in 2014.

UPDATE: A copy of the resolution can be found here: Proposal 354


RELEASE: 2014 Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support

October 15, 2013

October 14, 2013

2014 Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support
Budget adds 80 IMPD Officers, Supports Schools and Protects Taxpayers

Indianapolis – Tonight, the Indianapolis City/County Council approved the 2014 budget in a bipartisan vote that included input from both parties. The budget adds 80 needed officers to the IMPD ranks, but holds the line on taxes and protects critical school funding. “I am pleased we came to a bipartisan agreement that serves our entire community,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “A budget that improves public safety and protects taxpayers is a win for all our residents.”

“Throughout the budget process, the Council majority and Mayor’s Office worked together,” said Council Vice President John Barth, “From the beginning, the Council’s goal has been to support IMPD officers while minimizing the impact on taxpayers. We were able to do both with this budget.”

Mayor Ballard’s original proposed budget raised property taxes by eliminating the Homestead Tax Credit – which would have meant higher tax bills for residents and a loss of revenue for schools. The budget negotiation focused on finding another way to pay for additional police officers. To fund a class of 30 IMPD officers in addition to the 50 already in the budget, the Council and Mayor agreed to tap a $5.7 million fund for legal expenses for the Citizens Energy Utilities transfer that had reverted to the City and to use $6.9 million from the fiscal stability fund.

In addition to passing the budget, the Council introduced a proposal to create a bipartisan study commission to determine the appropriate and necessary number of IMPD officers and to review and analyze long-term funding options. “Public Safety Director Riggs and his team have laid the groundwork for us to build on, which will allow us to to take an in-depth look at cost projections and staffing models so we can do needed long-term planning” said Vice President Barth.