Monday, July 7, 2014

Times Reports Porter County at Odds Over Proposed Tax Increase

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

The Porter County Board of Commissioners is seeking to raise to the maximum level one of the tax rates used to fund county government.
The group is hoping the increase will be neutralized by budgeting changes and factors that should lower other county tax rates next year, said County Council Budget and Finance Specialist Vicki Urbanik.
Yet the proposal, which will be the focus of a public hearing at 1 p.m. July 15 and during a subsequent 30-day period for remonstrating, is already generating opposition from other county officials, who feel a tax increase is the wrong approach at addressing the county's worsening financial problems.
"Their solution is to raise more money. My solution is to live within your means," said Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski, a Republican, who is facing a re-election challenge from Democrat Urbanik.
Porter County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, agrees.
"Anyone's definition of what they're doing is a tax increase," he said.
Shifting payments around in the budget and raising more revenue is only going to make the problem worse by prolonging what really needs to be addressed, Biggs said. The commissioners need to come up with an employee health insurance plan the county can afford, rewrite some of the work rules involving county employees and redirect a portion of the local income tax money to be used by the county's general fund.