Council committee weighs Mayor Ballard’s homestead tax credit elimination

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The battle rages on Mayor Greg Ballard’s early childhood education plan for children of low-income families.

A council committee is expected to vote on the plan at a 5:30 meeting Tuesday.  The committee can either pass it through sending it to council for a final vote, table it or strike it down which would kill the proposal.  The latter is most likely.

The dilemma is this:  The elimination of the homestead tax credit.  Mayor Ballard and his team are already expecting Tuesday night’s vote to go against their proposal.

“We’re working with council democrats right now on a couple of different options.  About four or five different funding options,” said Mayor Ballard’s spokesman Marc Lotter.

There aren’t details of the new proposal or a timeline as to when we may see it.  But, the need is there for expanding pre-k options.  24-Hour News 8 dug into the numbers and found the Indianapolis Public School System has waiting lists for pre-k education at all but three of its schools.  Of those three schools combined there are only 11 spots open.

The mayor wants $50-million to spend on scholarships for 13,000 low-income families to use for pre-k enrollment at quality preschools, and so schools can apply for money to help raise accreditation levels.

“Right now we are working with Council Vice President John Barth.  We’re having good, productive discussions.  Hopefully those will continue,” said Lotter

24-Hour News 8 spoke with Barth over the phone Tuesday.  He says he’ll have his own proposal before the council Monday.

“I believe in pre-k and think it is important to invest in our city’s young children. However, rather than ask the people of Indianapolis for a second tax increase, I am working on a bipartisan plan to fund a pre-k program in the existing budget,” said Barth.

“The end of the day the goal is to have something that both sides can pass and we can move forward with Mayor Ballard’s plan to put all these kids into preschool,” said Lotter.

Stay with 24-Hour News 8 for updates on what the committee decides and what the steps are going forward.

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