Governement

GOVERNMENT: Lake Co. income tax will hit paychecks in October

Times Board of Economists - Update from Michael Griffin, Highland clerk/treasurer
2013-07-21T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:23:22Z GOVERNMENT: Lake Co. income tax will hit paychecks in OctoberBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

Lake County taxpayers will begin feeling the pain this October, when the county's first-ever income tax hits paychecks.

But they will also feel some pleasure when up to $90 million of the money raised by the tax is used for property tax relief.

That's just some of what's to come in the wake of the Lake County Council's passage of a combined 1.5 percent income tax earlier this year, which could raise an estimated $135 million in its first year, said Highland Clerk/Treasurer Michael Griffin.

In addition to the $90 million going to property tax relief, the remaining $45 million raised will be split evenly between public safety county-wide and economic development.

Another big change is coming thanks to the Indiana General Assembly, which in its last session voted to end the property tax levy freeze it had imposed on all governments in Lake County. That reversal should allow most local governments to implement a slight increase in property taxes.

But local governments are not planning a spending spree, they will instead use the new money to plug budget gaps and build up reserves that have been savaged by the levy freeze and property tax caps, Griffin said.

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