Central IN JwJ Says: Prioritize Communities' Needs over Millionaires'
In the last two weeks, Central Indiana Jobs with Justice has gotten significant local media coverage. Why? Because the community is taking more and more action to demand justice from local government, and in particular questioning why the billionaire Simon family should benefit from millions in taxpayer dollars while the city cuts vital public services.
Dozens packed the small hearing room and drew media coverage to the Municipal Corporations Committee meeting on September 27th to protest Mayor Ballard’s $1.5 million gift to the Simons. The Simon family got a new scoreboard for their Pacers team, while library workers will see pink slips.
JwJ drew media again on October 6th, with their protest at the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) meeting. These daytime meetings frequently go unnoticed and unattended even though the MDC is responsible for millions of tax payer dollars. Despite testimony from JwJ members like Pastor Richard Willoughby, Professor Tom Marvin, and student intern Mary Kate Dugan, the MDC approved $600,000 for Mayor Ballard’s Bridge to Nowhere, 9-0, another gift benefiting the Simons. One of the MDC Commissioners admitted they looked like fools approving this project, but claimed state statute regulates their spending. “We know,” said Becky Smith, Community Organizer for Unite HERE and JwJ leader, “that is why we will be supporting state legislation in January to change the way they City does business.” The MDC is an appointed board with no accountability to the tax payers - something Central Indiana JwJ seeks to change over the long term.
At a time when the libraries are cutting hours and laying off workers, and IndyGo is deciding which bus routes stay and which ones go, the City should not be giving millions of dollars to the Simons who are already billionaires.
The taxpayers of Marion County cannot afford these gifts, but on October 11th, the Municipal Corporations Committee will once again hear a proposed $8 million gift from the Mayor to the Simons, and Central Indiana Jobs with Justice will be there taking action for working families.
For more information on the Put Communities First Campaign, visit www.centralindianajwj.org or call (317) 917-0723 x33.