One of the numbers that nearly all local governments eagerly await each year before setting budgets is the amount of local income tax (LIT) it will be receiving for the ensuing year. While this information arrives in several stages of increasing refinement, the first indicator that counties receive is the estimate of local income taxes for the county as a whole for the budget year by the Indiana State Budget Agency.
Today, Indiana counties received their 2018 Certified Distribution estimates from the State Budget Agency. Here is a table summarizing these estimates and comparing them to the 2017 certified distributions for Monroe County:
These numbers represent very good news for Monroe County residents. The overall increase in local income tax collections for Monroe County is 4.27%, demonstrating robust growth in the income earned by Monroe County residents.
Just as a reminder, Monroe County’s local income tax (LIT) rates are as follows:
- Expenditure – Certified Shares: 0.9482%
- Expenditure – Public Safety: 0.2500%
- Expenditure – Economic Development: 0%
- Property Tax Relief: 0.0518%
- Special Purpose (for Monroe County, this rate is for juvenile services): 0.095%
- Total Income Tax Rate: 1.345%
The amounts shown in the table above will be distributed to various local government units:
- Certified shares will be distributed to all civil taxing units except Solid Waste District, which means the county, cities and towns, townships, the public library, Perry-Clear Creek Fire Protection District, and Bloomington Transit
- Public safety will be distributed first to the Dispatch Center (in a percentage determined by the Monroe County Income Tax Council), then to township fire departments (in an amount determined by the Income Tax Council), and then among the county and the three cities and towns (Bloomington, Ellettsville, and Stinesville).
- Property Tax Relief will be used to offset the property taxes of homestead properties
- Special Purpose goes to juvenile services in Monroe County, which includes youth services (including the Binkley House Youth Shelter), juvenile probation, and juvenile courts
The State Budget Agency will provide updated numbers to Indiana counties before October 1.
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 371, which is specific to Monroe County
- 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%
- Property Tax Relief (replaces property tax): 0.0518%
- Special Purpose (Juvenile services): 0.095%
- Total Income Tax Rate: 1.345%