In light of the recent adoption of Local Option Income Tax (LOIT), this may be the perfect time to examine the fiscal health of our city. The report covers 2013 and 2014 and does a comparison between the two years. Being an informed citizen is a good thing, it’s hard to pull the wool over eyes that see.
In addition, knowledge is a tool to prepare for events which can affect a lifestyle. Lowering Your Income Tax (LOIT) which was first mentioned by the Muncie mayor and adopted 14 days later by Muncie City Council is one such thing. Two weeks is barely enough time to get the information out to the masses.
One interesting aspect is the information on the city revenue has been in the hands of nine city council members, one mayor and one controller for three years. Yet, there was never a word said at council meetings, in the newspaper or during State of the City addresses. It was all puppy dogs and happiness.
In the ranks of the people, the concern about the finances was growing. How in the world is the city paying for all this? No one knew. None of this has taken us off guard, seeing it coming down the pike. Interesting the very ones with information at their fingertips either never saw it (odd) or ignored it (likely).
Do need to recognize the speed in which the city racked up $65 million in debt as well as the lightening speed in which a tax was imposed upon every working stiff.
Please feel free to take a look at the fiscal health report. You will find in nearly every category a decrease in revenue and an increase in expenditures. An increase in government owned acreage, an increase in TIF, an increase in local taxes. It’s business as usual.
If you have been following the City of Muncie’s financials, a shorted till will be of no surprise. If not, you may find your paycheck missing a few pennies as the rush to fill the cash register gets underway. Yes, folks, the LOIT has entered the minds of our elected officials. L-O-I-T (Local Option Income Tax) if passed by the City of Muncie, digs into the pocketbooks of every working stiff in Delaware County. I believed it was just a matter of time before it was introduced and approved.
I’m not going to spend much time discussing the merits or pitfalls of LOIT today. Instead, I am offering two articles and an opinion piece for your reading pleasure.
The first article is the introduction of the tax, setting the tone. The second, a recap of the first and lastly a column by a local journalist (saved the best for last). Perhaps after reading, you’ll get a better understanding.
Here’s a side note: A few months ago I crossed paths with columnist Larry Riley and the chit-chat soon turned to the SAFER grant. I asked if he knew the status. Nope.
Next question, if the grant is not renewed, how would the shortfall be met? Larry responded (much to what he penned) – Mayor Tyler stated there would be enough money to cover the fire department.
The previous mayor, McShurley, was asked the question in 2011 and her answer much the same. If the SAFER grant did not come through, there would still be money to maintain the fire department. Then she said good-bye and left the city with over $7 million operating balance.
The real kicker is after Mayor Tyler said the property tax revenue was down and the LOIT tax is needed for fire safety and to shore up the coffers of Economic Development Tax Revenue (EDIT) he proposed an additional amount of spending nearing $50 million.
Here’s the short of it all.
1.) Mayor Tyler – the city would have enough money for the fire department. Never a word to the contrary.
2.) Mayor Tyler – the tax revenue is down and will need to pass LOIT to maintain the fire department and EDIT funding.
3.) Mayor Tyler – reveals the $48 million canal project.
Chew on it a while…
Bus stop: Why and when issue was really decided
Though I’m writing these words prior to last night’s school board meeting, one doesn’t need a lot of tea leaves to divine the outcome.
School officials have made clear they want more money from somebody and busing is the hostage.
Taxpayers wouldn’t agree to give them more taxes in a 2012 referendum by a nearly 2-1 margin.
Creditors worried about repayment of debt successfully lobbied the legislature to make sure they won’t have to part with any money they’re owed.
So now the 20 percent or so of school boards across Indiana that can’t handle their finances appear to be collectively trying to tell the General Assembly that they’ll end busing if they don’t get more money. Muncie Star Press 7-14-15
Read the full column here.
‘Morning to the good people of Indiana. Been a long time since the last Saturday rambling was posted. It certainly isn’t for lack of subject matter, plenty of fodder to write on. Time’s a wasting, so let’s get to the down and dirties.
For those seeking further information about your local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) you will find a wealth of data on the Indiana Transparency Portal. Here you can find revenues, expenditures, assessed valuation, businesses and a whole bunch more.
Say what you will about our State, placing this data in the hands of the public is an awesome step on the part of our government.
At the onset of the portal, it was clumsy, hard to navigate and limited information. Responding to public input, the site has come a long way.
Take a gander.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind Delaware County Economic Development is a hard area to follow. Both financial and in practice.
Today, Larry Riley, a regular columnist in the local newspaper lays it out for us. I’m not sure anyone could have done a better job at explaining. Nevertheless, here it is in all her glory. Enjoy.