Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 21, 2013

County Commissioners want to cut incomes

Goshen News

---- — The Elkhart County Commissioners want to lower the pay of every wage earner in Elkhart County by up to 1 percent. On top of the dozens of other taxes we already pay, that will take away another ½ week of everyone’s pay each year.

I oppose the new tax for four reasons. The first and most important reason because it seems incredibly wrong that local government wants every taxpayer, every family, to reduce their income by 1 percent while at the same time commissioners are wanting to give county government employees a pay raise. Haven’t Elkhart families suffered enough over the past five years with layoffs, reduced hours and lowered pay? Now the government wants to add to taxpayer’s hardship.

The second reason I oppose the new tax is that raising taxes and taking money from taxpayers reduces purchasing power of the consumer, hurts the economy and delays our recovery.

My third reason is that our commissioners have decided to hire a lobbying firm to help them get this new tax passed into law. I find it humorous that they point to a time in Elkhart County’s history when a lobbying firm was hired to help secure special funding to build our current county jail. This jail is oversized and much of it sits empty and unused. Yet taxpayers must give a portion of their weekly paycheck now, and for many years to come, to pay for it. They’ve hired a lobbyist, using your tax dollars, to convince state legislators who do not reside in Elkhart County to give our county commissioners the right to tax you more.

Lastly, the commissioners and other office holders often blame the tax caps for lower tax receipts. The tax caps are doing exactly what they should be doing, preventing government from raising taxes instead of living within their means. The tax receipts are lower because the value of homes and other real estate has gone down during the recession. The people of Elkhart County have been hit hard and have had to do with less. But government says “not us. We want what we always had and we will raise taxes to get it.”

When jobs and income return to their previous levels in our area, house values will return and tax receipts will rise. Already, 2013 has seen tax receipts from county income taxes go up 30 percent! Elkhart County’s economy is one of the fastest recovering economies in America the last two years. We don’t need a new tax.

The commissioners should do what hard working Elkhart citizens are doing… live within their means. The families of Elkhart County need the money much worse than county government does.

— Wes CulverIndiana representativeDistrict 49