March 18, 2014
I am writing to express my disappointment with Senator Pete Miller’s sponsorship and shepherding of Senate Bill 118 through the legislative process. Senate Bill 118 guts the Tax Increment Finance District Brownsburg relies heavily on to fund current and future infrastructure.
Brownsburg residents, as well as appointed and elected officials lobbied Senator Miller to make changes to the bill. He was made aware of the severe ramifications to our community if he moved forward. A week before the vote, I personally met with him to discuss SB 118. While we disagreed on several issues, we concurred on what Miller described as “valid concerns,” and that the legislation needed to be changed. The final bill contained none of those. Many, myself included, simply asked for a pause to study the issue over the summer, fix the agreed upon problems, and make sure no unintended harm would come to the communities he represents.
Senator Miller’s colleagues even attempted to warn him of the ramifications to Brownsburg. During the debate, Senator John Broden, who represents the South Bend area, read a list of communities that would see their ability to improve infrastructure impacted. Among them was Brownsburg. The legislation was so bad, that a senator almost three hours away was attempting to caution him that he was about to harm his own district.
Senator Miller did see fit to exempt one community from the devastating effects of SB 118: Downtown Indianapolis. This means Avon (who also relies heavily on TIF dollars to fund infrastructure) and Brownsburg will be at an immense disadvantage when it comes to building a climate to attract first class businesses, jobs, and amenities.
In the Indianapolis Business Journal, Senator Miller cited the exemption because Downtown Indy was an economic-development engine and shared revenue with local government entities. In our meeting, I made clear that not only would TIF account for nearly a billion dollars of new AV with the completion of the Ronald Reagan, but that we also have an agreement to share dollars with other entities. The agreement even earned praise by Brownsburg Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Jim Snapp at the March Redevelopment Commission meeting.
Avon and Brownsburg are going to be harmed by SB 118. That news is bad enough. What makes it even worse is when your own senator has done the harm, is fully aware, and appears indifferent, as was evident when Senator Miller told one Brownsburg constituent via Twitter, “Such is life when balancing conflicting interests of constituents on a complex issue.”
The residents and business owners of Avon and Brownsburg deserve to know what “conflicting interests” Pete Miller was referencing. From those he was elected to serve, the message was clear: The bill was harmful. Which leads us to the “constituents” he alluded to. Who in Avon or Brownsburg urged the passage of this bill, and which of them was so insistent the Downtown Indy exemption be included?
Brownsburg Town Council, Brownsburg Redevelopment Commission