Sunday, February 14, 2016

People's Forum: Don’t add additional burdens to the people of Elkhart County

Posted on Jan. 16, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “Here we go again.” I refer to Mike Yoder’s response to Wes Culver’s letter regarding Elkhart County’s desire for a local option income tax (“Commissioners, other governmental boards work hard to spend money wisely,” Dec. 25 Point of View). I again need to remind all area politicians that when tax caps were approved by legislators and then by the people, the agreement was the sales tax would increase to 7 percent (the highest in America). So, tax caps were not a reduction in taxes, merely a shifting of taxes. When the state of Indiana reverts to a 6 percent sales tax, then we can chat about a local option income tax and not until.

Yoder indicates the tax would diminish or go away upon the appropriate economic recovery. Would this be the same going away as the “temporary wheel tax” or the infamous “groundwater storm fee?” The track record of Elkhart County politicians is the sooner a temporary tax can become permanent, the better.

My observation is if Elkhart County can survive a $37 million shortfall without falling off the map or being swallowed up by some other governmental entity, then it can do without further tax burdens to its citizens.

To follow up on Yoder’s example, and while not begrudging those who have their health premiums partially or totally funded by taxpayers, it’s difficult to shed even crocodile tears because the county’s health insurance costs are going up when many of us pay our entire health insurance premium on our own, recession or not.

Let the county do what we all do — find continued ways to survive until better times return. But for goodness’ sake, don’t add additional burdens to the people of Elkhart County who are already paying pretty much every kind of tax possible.

Jon Stepp