I remember Carl Moldthan from my days in the Hudnut Administration, when you could depend upon his Taxpayer Association to challenge virtually every bond issue. Currently, he is Executive Director of TAG–an acronym for Taxpayers for Accountability in Government. On its website, the organization says it works for Indiana taxpayers by monitoring government throughout the state and exposing inefficiency and waste.
I remember Carl Moldthan from my days in the Hudnut Administration, when you could depend upon his Taxpayer Association to challenge virtually every bond issue. Currently, he is Executive Director of TAG—an acronym for Taxpayers for Accountability in Government. On its website, the organization says it works for Indiana taxpayers by monitoring government throughout the state and exposing inefficiency and waste.
So far as I can tell, the only “waste” being targeted by TAG is the IPS bond issue, proceeds of which will upgrade IPS’ aged buildings with “frills” like science labs, air-conditioning, roofs that don’t leak and bathrooms on the same floor as classrooms.
Let me disclose my own bias here. I am an IPS property-owner and taxpayer with a vested interest in an improved school system. Property values are directly affected by perceptions of the quality of the school system where the property is located, and if IPS improves, so will my net worth. My husband and I have five children and two grandchildren who’ve been educated by IPS, and other grandchildren who will attend. If all that isn’t sufficient “investment” in these issues, our daughter is currently President of the IPS Board of School Commissioners. So I take these matters seriously, and when Moldthan began his remonstrance, I began to look more closely at claims made by TAG.
My first question was the most obvious: why target IPS? School corporations throughout central Indiana are issuing bonds, many for improvements that would seem to be far less “efficient” and more “wasteful” than the ones proposed by IPS. While I am most emphatically not suggesting that those efforts should be opposed, it does seem very curious that TAG would object to “frills” like science labs and accessible toilets for IPS, but not to “frills” like swimming pools and sports arenas for suburban children.
My effort to understand TAG’s decision to remonstrate against the school district serving central Indiana’s poorest children, and not against efforts to provide added amenities for children living in more affluent neighborhoods led me to question TAG’s own level of accountability. One of the people identified by TAG’s corporate documents as a board member and financial supporter is a long-time friend of mine, so I asked him about it. He had made an early contribution to what had been described to him as a broad effort to make Indiana government more accountable. Despite being listed as a board member, he was neither involved in—nor consulted about—the remonstrance.
I also found it curious that a photo of Reggie Miller with a basketball would be prominently displayed on TAG’s website, clearly implying that Miller (or the entire Pacer team) supports TAG. The Pacer organization, which works closely with IPS, denies involvement and says TAG did not have its permission to use the photograph.
Citizens have every right to protest government expenditures and to demand transparency and accountability. But rights carry responsibilities. When you are acting like a kettle, you should be careful about calling the pot black.