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Council OK's tax-related resolutions sought by Moore

One resolution opposes business tax cut while the other seeks new flexibility in local option income tax.

Posted on Feb. 6, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.

ELKHART − Two resolutions concerning tax issues being considered by the General Assembly were approved by the city council Monday night, Feb. 3.

The resolutions were both sought by Mayor Dick Moore.

The first resolution was approved with a 9-0 vote and voices opposition to Gov. Mike Pence’s legislative plan to eliminate the business personal property tax.

The plan has been met with stiff opposition from cities and towns, which are working with less property tax revenues as a result of Indiana’s tax cap policies approved several years ago.

Moore estimated the city would lose another $5 million in tax revenues if the business tax were to be approved and described the potential financial impact as being “pretty disastrous” for the city.

The resolution also had the support of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. While chamber president Kyle Hannon said he supports the concept of cutting the business personal property tax, the current plan “doesn’t seem to be the right way.”

Moore reiterated the belief shared by many that the state should not eliminate the tax without somehow replacing the lost revenues.

The other resolution passed 6-3 and voices support for the General Assembly to pass legislation that would allow counties to establish a new type of county option income tax intended to provide local taxing units some relief from lost property tax revenues.

The tax would be reduced annually as assessed property levels in the county increase and could be rescinded after several years.

Opponents noted that rarely do new taxes ever become rescinded.

Among those opposing it were Republicans David Henke, Mary Olson and Brian Dickerson.

Henke said the implementation of the tax would be another additional tax for workers.

Moore, on the other hand, said declining city services could become a bigger factor in trying to attract new industry and workers to the area and could override the benefit of existing low local taxes.

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