In a recent article published by the Indianapolis Business Journal (view here), multiple elected officials stated their case for and against a proposed new regional development authority. This new government structure is said to allow cities and towns to work together in a formal partnership to “combine regional resources to pursue transformational projects”. Should that read: a new regional taxing entity?
Surprisingly, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness is first to be quoted in the piece because, as the author puts it, “[he] has been leading conversations about regionalism.” But has he really been leading that conversation? Prior to the 2019 Fishers State of the City address - where the mayor spoke almost exclusively about Indianapolis (not Fishers) - mentions of “regionalism” by Fadness were scant. Instead, his discussions had been solely focused on “live, work, and play here [Fishers].” (See sources: Noblesville Times, First Internet Bank, South Village of Nickel Plate, Patch.com, 2016 State of the City Address, City of Fishers Blog, and more…) So why is our mayor suddenly being hailed as the king of regionalism when in reality, this is a 180 degree change in focus from his previous four years of track record? What are the likely tax implications of “regionalism”?
Are you watching?
You don’t need to look any further than the recent public record where, not one, but TWO tax increases received favorable votes and eventual approval in Fishers. First, the 911 tax was passed (albeit with the approval of other council bodies as well). Then, on Monday October 21, the Fishers City Council unanimously passed a budget which included a $0.02 per $100 of assessed property value tax, said to be necessary for road repairs. Do you remember the $25 wheel tax which was added in 2018 and was also for funding road improvements? In a rapidly growing community, and after being told that taxes would NOT increase this year, it’s inconceivable that our elected officials are eagerly and unhesitatingly voting to tax us more. And with no discernible objection by residents. More taxes? Are YOU ok with [a lot] more taxes? I hope so, because the stage has been set. And without residents to hold our elected officials accountable, we will continue to find the government's hands in our wallets - and they will be taking larger bills every time. In fact, Mayor Fadness said in the article, “We’ll take the political risk,” of generating more revenue from taxes as region. More government and large projects? In the article, State Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said regional development authorities are “a new layer of government.” I couldn’t agree more, and as a taxing authority, it is almost guaranteed to result in additional line items on residents’ tax bills throughout various regions. Senator Jim Merritt, a Republican candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, showed some support for the measure and referenced some “large projects” coming down the line that could flourish with the new regional authority. I’m genuinely curious, what large projects are coming down the line? Should we be concerned? Time to sound the alarm? Frankly, there is a LOT more packed into this article so I can only encourage you to read it for yourself and share YOUR opinion with the Fiscal Conservative of Hamilton County. Suffice it to say, it might be time to sound the alarm before this tax wildfire gets out of control. If you are reading this and share our concerns, PLEASE stay connected with FCoHC and join us as we contact state legislators to address this potential flood of taxes.
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