“So if we truly grow out of this, then that tax would go away,” he continued. “So rather than the current option of a permanent tax, this is one that meets our needs right now and helps us transition to a time when, perhaps in 10 years or so, we have overcome these circuit breaker losses.”
Yoder noted that currently the only way to enact either of the two proposed tax options is to first get permission from the state Legislature. That, he said, is why he chose to seek the council’s favor in pursuing the two tax options Saturday.
“I’m asking you today to support this generally in concept so that we can go to our legislators and ask for some enabling legislation to allow us this additional option,” Yoder said.
While acknowledging the fact that the county does need to do something to make up its revenue shortfalls, several on the council questioned how the county can get the public to throw its support behind a tax that many may see as simply replacing any money they may be saving through the property tax caps.
“It’s the job of the taxpayers to complain about the tax rates. It’s our job to fully fund, adequately fund, county government,” Yoder said in response. “And in most cases, what we do has to be done. And we don’t have many options. So that’s the balance. There’s always going to be that pressure to keep tax rates down, and I think we share that goal. On the other hand, there is the obligation and the responsibility we have. That’s a pretty big responsibility. So we’re looking for additional options.”
While not yet ready to rule one way or the other on any particular option, the council did agree that the county should at least have the option to look at additional ways to make up the funding shortfalls created by the circuit breaker tax credits.
Along those lines, the council voted unanimously to throw its support behind the Intergovernmental Forum’s plans to go to the state Legislature with its recommendations for additional LOIT options.
“I think we’re going to be able to create a pretty compelling argument that Elkhart County has some particular problems,” Yoder said.
Follow government reporter John Kline @jkline_TGN