July 6th, 2009 we will more then likely see a historical moment in Muncie’s history. Yes, kids, Muncie will enact a new tax. To be fair, we plan on including all of Delaware County. Certainly, it would be a travesty not to bring this shining moment to all.
The county has lovingly bestowed us with the Wheel Tax, it is only fitting we should return the favor. We trumped them, though! Muncie City Council will surely pass a 1.25% income tax. One word of warning to the county, ya’ll play with the big kids, expect to get stomped.
So, what can you expect to pay each year? I figured it out for you.
$ 10,000.00 per year = $ 125.00 or $10.00 per month
$ 20,000.00 per year = $ 250.00 or $20.00 per month
$ 30,000.00 per year = $ 375.00 or $31.00 per month
$ 40,000.00 per year = $ 500.00 or $41.00 per month
$ 50,000.00 per year = $ 625.00 or $52.00 per month
Considering the average income of Muncie residents is around $25,000.00, it will be an extra $26.00 more from the paycheck. If they own just one car, $28.00. two cars it will be $30.00 per month. All for the privilege to live in Delaware County.
Why I think it is a bad idea to raise taxes during a recession. Believe it or not, many people are struggling to meet just the basic necessities of daily life. Where is the compassion we hear during election time for the working poor, the lower middle class? Believe it or not, many families do not qualify for public assistance, and asking them to yet make another sacrifice just so the local governments can maintain their spending quotas, is cruel and unreasonable.
Yes, there are those who say, it is only $20.00 a month. Take into consideration the rise in food costs, gas, utilities, medical, sales tax and suddenly a much bigger picture appears.
Have we forgotten that over 50% of our children qualify for free or reduced lunch? Or that the unemployment rate is at an all time high of 10%. I have had some come back at me with the unemployment saying if unemployed, then they are exempt from this tax. Not so. Think about the primary wage earner who has been laid-off. Suddenly, the income has dropped, yet I doubt if the family’s basic needs have changed all that much.
1.25% it ain’t all that much. Think about it, Muncie City Council and do the right thing.
There were no committee reports. Barbara Bryant was appointed to the Library Board and Dan McDonald lost his appointment to Ms. Bryant.
The council jumped immediately to new business. New business meaning the wheel tax. They had the ordinance, but it was missing some vital information. Several people got up to speak on the merits of the wheel tax.
Todd Donati said he was not interested in increasing taxes. He assured us he would put it in writing the money would not be spent on other things. (It is illegal.) He supports the Sunset Clause or reviewing every so many years. The council wasn’t prepared with how many years, just that there would be a Sunset Clause. Donati also said he would show us the investment of money. Hope it is nothing like the investment of creating a job for his son. (Yes, that still ticks me off.) He said to give him 3 years and he will put the roads in shape. He plans to rebuild the roads with drainage problems and he will look into raising fees on utility companies that cut into the roads.
Don Dunnuck said it is not adding a new tax, it is a replacement for other tax.
I believe Donati said the money would go only to paving and not to hiring or equipment. Don’t hold me to that statement. Two employees have already been hired since th first of the year. Wonder if they will hurry to get the hiring in while there is still some funds left for paving from this year’s budget?
Scott Alexander asked the county get it’s house in order before they enact any new tax. Elected officials always seem amazed when this is mentioned, as if this is the first time heard.
Bowman (county council) wanted a public hearing to get input before voting on the ordinance a/k/a new tax. Donati said it was made clear the meeting would be about wheel tax. Although, if you look at the agenda sheet, it is not listed.
The County Council has been in office less than 6 months and they have already started discussing 4 new taxes. Wheel, LOIT, COIT and Dog.
The wheel tax is by far the fastest moving tax issue. For example, today, the ordinance that was introduced had no figures, charges and certainly more flaws that we know. Take for example, when Mr. Bowman asked Mr. Donati to read a section of the ordinance. That section included bridges and new construction. Bowman said the money was only to be used for repairs and maintenance. If it would have been passed as it is written, we would be stuck with this added expense and less road paving.
It really needs to be looked at with a fine tooth comb to assure that nothing inapropriate shows up and the taxpayers don’t get stuck holding the bag.
There will be no public hearing, no input from the public. It is a rush job and needs to be approved by June 30, 2009, regardless if it is a good ordinance or not.
Mr. Donati said all the people who cared were already at today’s meeting. I thought it was a disingenuous comment considering, most in attendance were government employees or elected officials. Not to many citizens can get off during the day to attend a meeting. Even one as important as this meeting was.
Some things we should be looking at.
Contracting an outside company to do the paving. It may be a little more costly, yet once it is done, the employees go on to another job and don’t stay on the payroll when there is no paving to do.
Why not look into using TIF which has approximately 6-7 million dollars available? Allison Quirk and several others said the roads fall under economic development. This would save citizens millions of dollars and the money is for economic development. We already have it. We would still have money to spare if it was spent wisely.
What I find so amazing is how quickly they are to enact a new tax, it has to be done by June 30th. Their argument is we don’t have time to waste. Imagine how farther along we would be today had the elected officials applied those same principles to say, The Modernization and Consolidation effort? Or perhaps Animal Control? Or tapped into the TIF?