Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

February 12, 2014

Council opposes elimination of business personal property tax

Hendricks County Flyer

---- — PLAINFIELD – The Plainfield Town Council has gone on record as being opposed to the elimination of personal property taxes for businesses as defined in bills currently going through the Indiana legislature.

In a letter sent to legislators who represent residents of the Town of Plainfield, the council said that because the bills do not identify a workable replacement for the loss of revenue to local government, they are unacceptable.

“Many local governmental units and school systems are still trying to figure out how to recover from revenue lost by tax caps, let alone throwing more revenue reduction at them,” Plainfield Town Council President Robin Brandgard said in a press release. “We are already being forced to be as efficient as possible by the tax cap reduction; there is no more fat to be cut. As a state, we complain with the federal government mandates something but fail to provide funding for it. Yet, this is essentially what the state is proposing to do to us.”

As for the proposal in one bill to push the decision to eliminate business property taxes down to county level, Brandgard said that will not work either.

“Within the counties there are competing communities trying to attract businesses,” he said. “Enabling a business personal property tax cut at the county level will pit cities and towns against each other. Those which have responsibly attracted businesses on the basis of tax abatements and EDIT funds could be placed at a supreme disadvantage. Revenue streams, the basis of which are funding critically needed infrastructure, could swiftly dry up. Economic Development is more than just who has the lowest business taxes. If our parks deteriorate or we aren’t able to take care of our streets and roads during winter because of lack of revenue, what message about our quality of life does that send to businesses thinking about locating here?”

Brandgard went on to say that this issue has significant economic implications and needs for study.

“When the Legislative Service Agency did a study to determine that property tax caps would do to local government funding dollars, they missed by 50 percent,” he said. “This is the second time in five years the legislature is planning to revenue without replacing it. A short session is not the time to rush into this. We urge our legislators to vote against taking any action toward reducing or eliminating business personal property taxes this year.”

The letter sent to the legislators was signed by all five town council members — Brandgard, president; Bill Kirchoff, vice president; Renea Whicker, member; Kent McPhail, member; and Ed Gaddie, member.