GUEST COMMENTARY: County option income tax is unconstitutional

2013-04-04T00:00:00Z 2013-05-16T19:11:07Z GUEST COMMENTARY: County option income tax is unconstitutionalBy Gerry Scheub
April 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Indiana state legislators enacted a law giving all 92 counties the opportunity to pass a county option income tax. In 91 counties, the county council and commissioners voluntarily chose to enact such a tax. Only in Lake County did the county commissioners veto the tax. I voted to defeat the tax in December 2007.

Webster's dictionary defines an option as "the liberty of choosing." I chose not to increase my constituents' taxes. In response, our state legislators wrote a new definition for "option." If you elected not to pass their tax, all your units' tax levies are frozen. Why? The General Assembly did not want to shoulder the blame, so they forced the tax increase decision onto counties.

The tax has two wrongs. First, the tax is unconstitutional. Not all individuals pay the tax because the law exempts all businesses and large corporations such as BP, Mittal and U.S. Steel. Indiana's Constitution, in Article 10 Section 1, mandates a uniform and equal tax rate. The option tax violates this principle. Second, the option tax is touted as voluntary but is mandatory. The General Assembly forces Lake County to enact a tax. How can this be an option?

I will never vote for such a tax! The Indiana General Assembly that illegally froze our levy must rescind this law and finally admit they were wrong in their action against Lake County homeowners.

I ask our elected officials to stand up for all Lake County homeowners to reverse this unconstitutional law. We were given the liberty to choose whether the tax should be passed. I chose to vote the tax for every Lake County homeowner. I did this in 2007 and will veto the tax again.

Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub represents the 2nd District. The opinions are the writer's.

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