Monday, December 23, 2013

Tribune Star Reports Wabash Valley Schools Chief Fear Loss of Biz Tax Funds Would Be Devastating

From the Terre Haute Tribune Star:

Wabash Valley school superintendents have  concerns about how their budgets would be impacted if the Legislature eliminates the business personal property tax.

“We can’t handle any more cuts than what we’ve had,” said Mark Baker, Northeast Sullivan school superintendent.

The district board recently voted to close Dugger Elementary and Union High School because of funding issues. Anything that would cut additional revenues “can’t be good for Northeast,” Baker said.

Some superintendents said they aren’t familiar with details of the proposal or how much revenue they might lose in their districts. But loss of revenue — without a replacement of those funds — would hurt.

“I’m sure it will affect us in a way I don’t want to know about,” said Leonard Orr, Southwest Parke superintendent. “We’re bare-bones the way it is.”

Kim Tucker, Clay Community School Corp. superintendent, didn’t have exact numbers but believes elimination of the business personal property tax would mean “a substantial loss” of revenue for the district.

She believes it could be as devastating as the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act on districts. The proposal to eliminate the business property tax “is certainly not well-received by superintendents across Indiana,” Tucker said. “I would hope there would be some considerable thought and research done by our legislators to determine the impact before they would even begin to support that kind of a proposal.”

Elimination of the tax also will partially be made up on the backs of other local property taxpayers, including homeowners, businesses, farmers and anyone who owns real property. Just a few years ago, property tax caps were put into place to provide them relief, she noted.