August 28, 2014

Council Committee Raises Public Safety Tax

Council Committee Raises Public Safety Tax

The Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee voted to increase the public safety tax to hire more police.

If approved by the full city county council, the tax would increase from 0.35 percent to 0.50 percent and result in $29 million in new revenue.                 

Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Rick Snyder says the move is an important first step in getting more officers on the streets.

"We have said time and again that no one is excited about raising taxes, however, one thing that we have consistently heard from constituents and members of this city is that they are supportive of funding and increasing their own taxes as long as it is dedicated to public safety and specifically the hiring of more police officers," said Snyder.

Part of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s plan to hire more police is the tax increase and the elimination of the local homestead tax credit.

Phasing out the credit also would pay for a pre-k expansion.  Ballard’s office says it would impact about 54 percent of homeowners who would pay about $22 more a year.

But last week, a council committee voted to strike that portion of the plan.

Republican Councilor Ben Hunter voted against the tax increase, Wednesday, because he wanted to see it included with the elimination of the local homestead tax credit.

"I think that we are missing the opportunity to holistically have a crime plan," said Hunter.  "The pre-k I think is an important initiative.  I think (the homestead credit elimination) should come back on the table.  I think we are completely missing the opportunity to add $2.5 million on top of what PST (public safety tax) can do to add additional dollars to IMPD staffing."

Ballard’s office is expected to re-introduce the homestead credit elimination to the council next month.

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