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Ballard on the bus

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Coming to the rescue is getting to be a habit with Mayor Ballard. A couple of weeks ago, it was the library system; now it's IndyGo. The mayor announced what he's a calling "a potential short-term solution" to keep IndyGo from having to take the ruinous steps imposing fare increases and route terminations.

The mayor's short-term solution proposes to leverage existing dollars from a number of sources, including IndyGo's existing general operating balance, the rebalancing of IndyGo's revenues in 2011 between operating and capital, the use of a $5 million line of credit, and other IndyGo reserves. These steps are intended to buy time for the transit system through 2011.

In the meantime, the mayor is turning the problem over to the High Performance Government Team to come up with a long-term solution. This is the same group of bureaucratic ninjas tasked with digging the library system out of its property tax cap-induced hole.

The mayor's willingness to act in the face of yet another crisis involving a crucial public service is admirable. But the situation, brought on by funding cuts due to property tax caps, begs the question: who's next? Not to mention what structural changes are going to be necessary in order not just to save the public services we have now, but to enable them to grow and adapt as time goes by.

Finally, this situation should serve as an alarm bell prior to this fall's referendum on writing property tax caps into the state constitution.

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