Commentary by Rick McKinney
Citizens of Hamilton County … Awaken from your slumber and guard your wallets!
The much debated and discussed subject of Mass Transit was addressed this recently ended session of the Indiana General Assembly with the passage of SB 176 and was promptly signed by Governor Pence. It takes effect July 1.
In the most simplest terms, this bill is mass taxation at its core and you, Mr./Mrs. Citizen, need to be vigilant and pay attention to the future activities of the Hamilton County Council. This is the fiscal body for Hamilton County which now has the decision making power whether to hold a county-wide referendum to implement a new income tax up to 0.25 percent of your pay to fund a mass transit system like IndyGo or to pass the decision down to the township level where the township board can decide whether or not to have solely a township referendum. If the township referendum passes, then only those citizens within that township would pay for mass transit service.
This is what I, as an individual at-large county councilor who has won five consecutive county-wide elections, advocate because I believe it is the fairest way to tax in that it affects only those who will benefit most from the service and use it the most. It is also the closest means to a true “market test” in order for other outlying townships to determine whether to hold a referendum for their citizens or not.
For every $50,000 you make, at the law’s present maximum tax level, this service will cost you $125 in after-tax dollars each and every year once the referendum is passed.
You could also pay more than this because if the “voluntary” business contribution of 10 percent toward the annual expenses doesn’t materialize, then the county or local township governments, which authorized the referendum, are required to make up the difference from county income taxes, not property taxes.
Do the math based on your financial situation then contact all county councilors to express your views on this new tax opportunity and vote accordingly when you have the opportunity. Once enacted, the tax will never go away or down.
Rick McKinney is an at-large member of the Hamilton County Council. For contact information for McKinney and other county officials, visit www.hamiltoncounty.in.gov