Hobart the first to ask county to approve 1 percent income tax

2012-09-05T22:30:00Z 2013-05-10T14:19:05Z Hobart the first to ask county to approve 1 percent income taxDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution asking county officials to approve a 1 percent personal income tax.

Hobart is the first community to make such a request, said City Council President David Vinzant, D-4th.

"This is the start of the process. It's time to make this happen," Vinzant said.

Questions and criticism about the tax by resident Larry Brown caused the meeting to be abruptly ended by City Councilman Matt Claussen, D-at large, who walked out of the council meeting room.

"Everyone is tired of you, Larry," Claussen told Brown.

The resolution requests that the Lake County Council and the Lake County commissioners work to adopt a 1 percent county adjusted gross income tax or county option income tax that will satisfy the requirements for eliminating the freeze on property tax levies in Lake County.

Indiana's 91 other counties have already implemented the tax, Vinzant said.

In addition, the council in its resolution is asking county officials to approve a 0.25 percent tax to pay for public safety projects for the county and a 0.25 percent tax to pay for countywide capital projects.

"The state allows several optional income taxes to reduce property taxes. Every other county, including Porter County, has passed something," Vinzant said.

If Lake County officials approve the 1 percent personal income tax, it would mean an annual return of some $5 million to Hobart officials, Vinzant said.

Approval of the resolution was questioned at length by Brown at the end of the meeting.

"Have you researched where all the money is going?" Brown asked the council.

Vinzant assured him that he and other local officials had researched the issue, including going over an impact study completed by Jim Bennett and Associates.

Brown said not everyone is completely happy with the 1 percent personal income tax, including those living in nearby Jasper County.

"There the 1 percent has grown to 3 percent and a lot of people living in Jasper County are not happy about it," Brown said. "Once it's approved, there is no control over it."

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