Monday, December 23, 2013

Tribune Star Reports Vigo Schools Fears Losing Business Property Tax Revenue Stream

From the Terre Haute Tribune Star:

The Vigo County School Corp. could lose about $3 million in revenue to various funds if Indiana’s business personal property tax is eliminated by the Legislature, according to projections by the county auditor.

That has local school officials worried about the potential impact on property-tax supported funds used to maintain buildings, buy equipment and pay utilities; operate the bus transportation system and replace buses.

“We already have such a significant circuit breaker loss in this community,” said Donna Wilson, VCSC chief financial officer, referring to property tax caps enacted a few years ago. “We’re losing close to $4 million [annually] because of circuit breaker tax credits.”

The circuit breaker caps were aimed at helping Hoosiers by ensuring they do not pay more than a fixed percent of their property’s gross assessed value in property taxes.

But the loss of the business personal property tax revenue would impact those same funds: capital projects, transportation, bus replacement and debt service, although districts “have to make our debt service payments,” Wilson said. Those four funds are supported by local property taxpayers.

“There are only so many times you can go to those funds and keep reducing the revenue stream,” Wilson said.

The Indiana Association of School Business Officials, of which she is a member, believes the issue “really needs to be studied. We very much support economic growth … but we also believe there needs to be a replacement for that revenue loss,” she said.