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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Defund the police? Hogsett’s proposed budget gives IMPD more money

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Mayor Joe Hogsett’s proposed 2021 budget includes a little more than $261 million for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department — $7 million more than in 2020. At 29% of the city budget, IMPD would represent the largest share of money among city departments.

There has never been indication from the top levels of city government that IMPD would face any kind of budget cutbacks, which has been one of the more popular demands adopted by protesters in Indianapolis following the police shootings of 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed and 19-year-old McHale Rose.

Calls to “defund the police” vary in the details, but most boil down to the notion that police department budgets are bloated and that money — all of it or some of it, depending on who you ask — should instead be used to fund other social services and programs.

Under Hogsett’s budget — which he introduced to the city-county council Aug. 10, along with his “state of the city” address — IMPD would make up about 21% of the entire city-county budget.

IMPD currently accounts for 31% and 22% of the city and consolidated city-county budgets.

Part of the proposed increase for IMPD is to pay for the 1,100 body cameras the department recently began rolling out and 200 new cruisers.

The city-county council will spend the next couple of months deliberating Hogsett’s proposed budget in committee meetings, with a plan to adopt a 2021 budget at the Oct. 12 meeting.

Other highlights of Hogsett’s proposed budget:

• The 2021 budget totals about $1.3 billion, most of which is allotted to city departments. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office would make up the largest share of county agencies at 36%.

• There are no tax increases.

• Public safety and criminal justice make up 58% of the budget, which includes $3 million for Violent Crime Prevention Grants and $250,000 for tenants’ rights programs.

• The budget estimates a $15 million increase in property taxes, which makes up 30% of projected revenue. The budget estimates a $24 million decrease in income tax, though, because of high unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Because of the process for collecting property and income taxes, the city won’t feel the effects of the pandemic in revenue until 2022.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

Mayor Joe Hogsett gives his virtual “state of the city” address and introduces his 2021 budget proposal to the city-county council Aug. 10.

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