Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann is four weeks into her planned seven-month tour of Indiana’s 92 counties and already at least one theme has emerged — Hoosiers don’t like government breathing down their necks.
“I’d say overregulation is one overriding theme that comes across,” she said Tuesday, May 21, during a stop at a farm southeast of Elkhart.
The leery attitude extends to federal and state overreach, Ellspermann said, and participants in the meeting, including Dwight Moudy, echoed her analysis. “It’s just crazy the way they want to regulate every part of our lives,” said Moudy, a member of the board of the Elkhart County Farm Bureau.
Otherwise, Ellspermann said after the formal gathering, the key concerns aired were about the decaying and aging homes in cities and distribution of income tax revenue due to Elkhart County.
Ellspermann, a Republican who took office in January along with new GOP Gov. Mike Pence, came to Elkhart County as part of her Listen and Learn tour. She’s nearly a month into the campaign, which is to take her to each of Indiana’s 92 counties through late November, according to her office.
“I want to make sure that I understand the counties, how they’re different, how they’re the same,” said Ellspermann. Her office will create a report based on the visits, she said, with an eye to possible policy change or reform of state agencies.
Ellspermann met first with a group of mayors, county council members and other elected leaders at Amish Acres in Nappanee. Then she met with a group of business and agricultural leaders on the Elkhart area farm, talking with the media after that.
INCOME TAX WORRIES
City representatives aired the concerns about aging homes, worried about maintaining older neighborhoods and property values.
The concerns about income tax revenue aren’t new, and Ellspermann said officials at the Indiana Department of Revenue would be consulted on the matter. County and city leaders have long maintained that Elkhart County doesn’t get its fair share of income tax funding after local taxpayers send it to state officials in Indianapolis to be processed. A local lawmaker, Indiana Rep. Wes Culver, even sponsored legislation, which ultimately stalled, to address the issue.
Representatives from the recreational vehicle sector, meanwhile, offered an upbeat message. It’s easier to get loans to buy RVs, the reps told Ellspermann, who was to visit Grand Design RV in Middlebury later Tuesday.
Many municipal leaders have long complained about property tax caps, saying the limits are seriously impacting revenue flow. That came up, Ellspermann said, “but not as one of the most important issues.”