Last week, the Indy Star reported that a proposed 0.25% local income tax in Marion County to support public transit expansion advanced (the article and my comments are here: Public Transit Income Tax Advances in Indy).
The tax passed the City-County Council last night. This 0.25% income tax will inject an estimated $54M per year into the public transit system, often thought of as one of the nation’s worst for a major city. 6 counties (Marion, Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Delaware and Madison) currently have the option of holding a referendum on a local income tax for transit expansion. This tax will bring the total local income tax rate for Marion County from 1.77% to 2.02%.
Today’s Indy Star reports that a proposal for a 0.25% local income tax in Marion County to support public transit expansion passed a key committee vote yesterday, sending the vote to the full City-County Council on February 27th:
Back in November, this tax increase to fund public transit passed in a referendum handily by 59.3% to 41.7%.
In the past we have discussed a potential income tax dedicated to public transit expansion here in Monroe County. The revenues would be shared between Bloomington Transit and Rural Transit, and would potentially fund both expansion of transit within the existing city boundaries (both in terms of additional routes and stops, and potentially more frequent service and/or Sunday service), as well as additional point to point service in the rural areas. Of course, the extent of city boundaries may change with a potential annexation, which could have a large impact on the services able to be provided by Rural Transit (a topic for a different post).
Such a tax in Monroe County would require additional state legislation. Senator Mark Stoops has introduced several pieces of legislation (and has been for several years) that would give Monroe County the ability to (but not require it to) pass an income tax between 0.1% and 0.25% to fund transit expansion. Senator Stoops’ proposed bills for the 2017 session are:
Senate Bill 391, which applies to all counties except those that already have the authority under existing legislation
Neither of these bills would require a referendum/public question. Also, it appears so far that neither of these bills will receive a committee hearing this session.
This is where I am interested in hearing from Monroe County constituents. What do you think about a potential increase in income tax dedicated to public transit expansion? Please let me hear your thoughts.
Just for reference, here are our existing local income taxes:
Expenditure – Certified Shares (all-purpose local income tax, distributed county, cities and towns, townships, public library, fire protection districts, Bloomington Transit): 0.9482%
Expenditure – Public Safety (distributed to the county, Bloomington, Ellettsville, and Stinesville): 0.2500%
Today Monroe County received its budget order for 2017 from the state, which includes:
The budgets for all taxing units (i.e., county, cities and towns, school districts, townships, public library, special units)
The property tax levies and tax rates for all taxing units
The property tax rates for each taxing district (i.e., the tax rates that actually affect each property owner)
Here is a chart showing the 2017 property tax rates by taxing district (along with the 2013-2016 rates for comparison):
As usual, the Ellettsville districts (the parts of Richland and Bean Blossom Townships within the incorporated boundary of the town of Ellettsville) have the highest tax rates in the County (the Bloomington City – Richland Township district is a very tiny, commercial-only area), with the Bloomington rates next in line.
However, in a departure from previous years, Washington Township no longer has the lowest property rates (that honor now belongs to Indian Creek Township). In fact, both Washington Township and Bloomington Township (the part of Bloomington Township outside of the City of Bloomington) had substantial tax rate increases in 2017 because of the newly established Northern Monroe Fire Territory.