Hebron council opposes Pence's tax cut plan

2013-12-18T21:03:00Z 2013-12-18T23:23:09Z Hebron council opposes Pence's tax cut planBy Phil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

HEBRON | Already hard hit by the property tax caps, the Town Council approved a resolution Wednesday opposing Gov. Michael Pence's proposal to eliminate the personal property tax on businesses.

"There's been no discussion of how towns, cities and schools can continue to operate with another large cut," Council President Don Ensign said. "If this goes through and there's nothing to compensate for it, I don't know how we can exist."

Clerk-Treasurer Terri Waywood said eliminating the tax on businesses' inventory and equipment would reduce the town's general fund by about $78,000 based on the reported projected 13 percent impact. Waywood said the change also could affect what the town receives from the state for several other funds.

Ensign said the schools recently lost a referendum for a property tax increase by only four votes, and the governor's proposal would be "just another step that would put us deeper in the hole, especially those of us without a large industrial tax base."

"We can't continue seeing the schools going down," he said. "They had to make cuts and tough choices to give the kids what they need. We are trying to keep up with public works with three less employees than we had a year ago, and we are trying to maintain the town with less money."

The council approved the final bills for the year and still had a balance of about $74,000. Waywood said about $60,000 would go to pay back an interfund loan, but the town is in good financial shape because it still hasn't received its second distribution of property taxes from the county, which is expected to be more than $300,000.

Waywood said the town already received approval for its 2014 budget from the state's Department of Local Government Finance. The agency approved the general fund amount sought by the town of $935,000, which is an increase of about $33,000 over this year's budget.

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