Saturday, April 27, 2013

NWI Reports Senate Approves Thaw of Lake Levy Freeze

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

Legislation lifting the Lake County property tax levy freeze and providing new economic development opportunities for Gary is headed to the governor.

State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, withdrew Friday a proposed House-Senate compromise version of Senate Bill 585 that would have controlled how Lake County's proposed income tax could be spent.

He then asked the Senate to approve the House version of the legislation, which does not direct how Lake should spend its potential income tax funds should it pass an income tax in coming months.

The Senate voted 50-0 for the measure, sending it to Republican Gov. Mike Pence.

The four senators whose districts include Lake County — state Sens. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake; Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond; Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago; and Earline Rogers, D-Gary — all joined Charbonneau in asking senators to support the proposal.

If signed by the governor, Lake County will be free of the levy freeze, a state law that limited the revenue of all local governments in the county to their 2007 amounts as punishment for Lake's being the only Indiana county without an income tax.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimates thawing the levy freeze will produce about $4 million a year in new revenue. Property owners whose taxes are already at the state's constitutional caps will not be affected.