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Watchdog Indiana LogoWatchdog Indiana provides information about the revenues, spending, and long-term debt assumption of Indiana local and state governments. An online community is established where Hoosiers come together voluntarily to help encourage our state and local governments better respond to the needs of working families. 

Watchdog Indiana is a non-profit, non-connected, and non-party advocate for good government that focuses on the state and local tax burden of Hoosier working families.
Watchdog Indiana was founded by Aaron Smith on November 14, 2001.

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Immediate action needed!
03/11/2017:
The several ACT NOW suggestions included on the web page at http://www.finplaneducation.net/act_now_transportation.htm urge concerned Hoosiers to contact their General Assembly public servants and let them know what they consider to be good public policy regarding state and local transportation infrastructure funding.

Did You Know?
03/10/2017: 
The 2017 Indiana General Assembly primarily addresses the topic of transportation infrastructure funding with Indiana House Bill 1002. Each HB 1002 major component is summarized, together with a Taxpayer Friendly evaluation, online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/2017_transportation_funding.htm.

An HB 1002 component is Taxpayer Friendly if it is results-oriented, compassionate, and fiscally responsible. The Taxpayer Friendly evaluations of the twenty major components of HB 1002 are summarized as follows:
HB 1002 TAXPAYER FRIENDLY COMPONENTS
Component #5. Heavy Vehicles Annual Registration Fee Increase
Component #7. Gasoline Use Tax Distribution Changes
Component #11. Weigh-In-Motion Pilot Program
Component #12. Local Road and Bridge Matching Grant Fund Changes
Component #13. Railroad Crossing Remediation Projects
Component #14. Gasoline Tax Distribution Changes
Component #15. Centralized Electronic Statewide Asset Management Database
Component #16. Transportation Funding Exchange Program Changes
Component #17. Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax Payment Change
Component #18. Special Fuel Tax Study
HB 1002 TAXPAYER NEUTRAL COMPONENTS
Component #1. Fiscal Year 2018 Fuel Tax Rates Increase
Component #3. Alternative Fuel Decal Fees Increase
Component #6. Electric Vehicle Supplemental Registration Fee
Component #9. Additional INDOT Duties
Component #10. Motor Carrier Civil Penalties Assessment Procedures
Component #19. Funding for Indiana's Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow Task Force
HB 1002 TAXPAYER UNFRIENDLY COMPONENTS
Component #2. Annual Fuel Tax Rates Increase
Component #4. Transportation Infrastructure Improvement Fee
Component #8. Toll Roads
Component #20. Municipal Excise Surtax and Wheel Tax

The Taxpayer Friendly evaluations of the twenty major components of HB 1002, together with Indiana Senate Bill 262, have been used to develop the Watchdog Indiana Transportation Infrastructure Funding Plan (WIN Plan). The seventeen WIN Plan Suggestions, which do NOT include the HB 1002 Taxpayer UNfriendly Components, are presented online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/watchdog_transportation_plan.htm.

WIN Plan would provide for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2021 a total of $3.9740 billion in additional new revenue for transportation infrastructure funding ($3.0326 billion to the state and $0.9414 billion to local government units). The additional new revenue that would be provided by WIN Plan compares favorably to the $4.0673 billion in additional new revenue ($3.0667 billion to the state and $1.0006 billion to local government units) that would be provided by HB 1002.

WIN Plan, which would provide 98% as much additional new revenue as HB 1002 for transportation infrastructure funding in Fiscal Years 2018 through 2021, eliminates the 22 tax and fee increases highlighted in bold red in following list of 39 tax and fee increases that would be imposed by HB 1002:
(1) The Gasoline Tax rate would increase in Fiscal Year 2018 to $0.28 per gallon from $0.18 per gallon,
(2) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2019 to $0.29 per gallon,
(3) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2020 to $0.30 per gallon,
(4) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2021 to $0.31 per gallon,
(5) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2022 to $0.32 per gallon,
(6) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2023 to $0.33 per gallon,
(7) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2024 to $0.34 per gallon,
(8) The Gasoline Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2025 to $0.35 per gallon,
(9) The Special Fuel Tax rate would increase in Fiscal Year 2018 to $0.26 per gallon from $0.16 per gallon,
(10) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2019 to $0.27 per gallon,
(11) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2020 to $0.28 per gallon,
(12) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2021 to $0.29 per gallon,
(13) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2022 to $0.30 per gallon,
(14) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2023 to $0.31 per gallon,
(15) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2024 to $0.32 per gallon,
(16) The Special Fuel Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2025 to $0.33 per gallon,
(17) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would increase in Fiscal Year 2018 to $0.21 per gallon from $0.11 per gallon,
(18) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2019 to $0.22 per gallon,
(19) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2020 to $0.23 per gallon,
(20) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2021 to $0.24 per gallon,
(21) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2022 to $0.25 per gallon,
(22) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2023 to $0.26 per gallon,
(23) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2024 to $0.27 per gallon,
(24) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax rate would likely increase in Fiscal Year 2025 to $0.28 per gallon,
(25) The Motor Carrier Surcharge Tax would have to be paid at the pump instead of through quarterly filings made with the Indiana Department of Revenue,
(26) The annual alternative fuel decal fee would increase to $150 from $100 for a passenger motor vehicle, truck, or bus, the declared gross weight of which is equal to or less than 9,000 pounds, that is owned by a public or private utility,
(27) The annual alternative fuel decal fee would increase to $150 from $100 for a recreational vehicle that is owned by a public or private utility,
(28) The annual alternative fuel decal fee would increase to $262.50 from $175 for a truck or bus, the declared gross weight of which is greater than 9,000 pounds but equal to or less than 11,000 pounds, that is owned by a public or private utility,
(29) The annual alternative fuel decal fee would increase to $375 from $250 for an alternative fuel delivery truck powered by alternative fuel, the declared gross weight of which is greater than 11,000 pounds,
(30) The annual alternative fuel decal fee would increase to $450 from $300 for a truck or bus, the declared gross weight of which is greater than 11,000 pounds, except an alternative fuel delivery truck,
(31) The annual alternative fuel decal fee would increase to $750 from $500 for a tractor designed to be used with a semitrailer,
(32) A new $15 annual transportation infrastructure improvement fee would be established that applies to all Indiana motor vehicle registrations except for motor vehicles with a declared gross weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds,
(33) The annual fee to register a truck, a tractor used with a semitrailer, or a for-hire bus with a declared gross weight greater than 26,000 pounds and equal to or less than 36,000 pounds would be increased to $315 from $300,
(34) The annual fee to register a truck, a tractor used with a semitrailer, or a for-hire bus with a declared gross weight greater than 36,000 pounds and equal to or less than 48,000 pounds would be increased to $529 from $504,
(35) The annual fee to register a truck, a tractor used with a semitrailer, or a for-hire bus with a declared gross weight greater than 48,000 pounds and equal to or less than 66,000 pounds would be increased to $756 from $720,
(36) The annual fee to register a truck, a tractor used with a semitrailer, or a for-hire bus with a declared gross weight greater than 66,000 pounds and equal to or less than 78,000 pounds would be increased to $1,008 from $960,
(37) The annual fee to register a truck, a tractor used with a semitrailer, or a for-hire bus with a declared gross weight greater than 78,000 pounds would be increased to $1,423 from $1,356,
(38) A person who registers an electric vehicle would be required to pay a new supplemental annual registration fee of $150, and
(39) The new $150 supplemental registration fee for electric vehicles would increase every five years beginning January 1, 2023, based on an index factor like that used to annually increase the fuel tax rates.

NOTE: Total state reserves equal to 10% of forecasted state General Fund revenue are prudently sufficient to meet reasonably anticipated Fiscal Year emergency needs. The current Fiscal Year 2017 state reserves are $196.3 million more than what is needed to prudently meet the state's reasonably anticipated emergency needs. Combining prudent state reserves with the forecasted increases in total state General Fund revenue WITHOUT NEW TAX AND FEE INCREASES results in there being (a) $619.8 million available for new state General Fund spending in Fiscal Year 2018 and (b) $545.6 million available for new state General Fund spending in Fiscal Year 2019. These state General Fund revenues available for new spending in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 WITHOUT NEW TAX AND FEE INCREASES can help provide additional transportation infrastructure funding. The analysis used to reach these conclusions is presented online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/state_reserves_history.htm.

Hot Topics.

Who Are Your Elected Officials: You can enter your address or click on a map to see a list of all your elected official - local, state, federal - in one place. All information on this site is maintained by your local county circuit court clerk's office in conjunction with the Indiana Secretary of State's office.

Indiana Transparency Portal: This one-stop online portal for state government information provides easy access to all state contracts, employee salaries, an interactive budget section, revenue data, state debt authority overview, financial statements for both local governments and state government, performance information, and recovery and reinvestment act information.

Third Grade Best Practices Practices Inventory Report: Nine "Best Practices" have been identified from the Best Practices data provided by some Principals of the Indiana elementary schools that were among the Third Grade Spring 2010 ISTEP+ Results Leaders. These improvement ideas will be helpful to those Hoosiers concerned about K-12 public education.

Indiana's Cash For College: Updated annually in the lead-up to Indiana's March 10 financial aid deadline, Cash for College works to equip students and families with the practical steps needed to plan and pay for college. Indiana's Cash for College Campaign is made possible by Learn More Indiana, a partnership of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana.

2008 House Bill 1001: Thanks to the November 2, 2010 passage of the Constitutional Amendment, this comprehensive property tax relief bill makes the state and local tax burden of Hoosier working families more fair and affordable by moving away from property taxes to sales and income taxes.

Redevelopment Commissions Oversight: Watchdog Indiana supports much improved oversight over redevelopment commissions and departments by (a) the legislative or fiscal body of the taxing unit that created a redevelopment commission or department, (b) the State Board of Accounts, and (c) everyday Hoosiers through the public meeting and public records laws.

UPDATED! Rational Municipal Annexations and Reorganizations: Many concerned Hoosiers realize that Indiana Code changes are needed to protect against illogical and predatory municipal annexations and reorganizations. Proposed legislation for municipal annexation reform can be found on the Watchdog Indiana web page at http://www.finplaneducation.net/municipal_annexation_reform.htm

Township Government Reform: Watchdog Indiana has developed a position on township government reform that includes placing the public question "Shall the township government be retained?" on the ballot in every county.

Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network: If you or someone you know is behind on the mortgage, or even in danger of falling behind, please contact the IFPN, a statewide program to provide free mortgage foreclosure counseling and education to at-risk homeowners. All Network services are free, and all Network counselors are certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. 

Watchdog Indiana Topics Index
Click here for access to the various Watchdog Indiana web pages related to 29 different topic areas.

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This page was last updated on 03/11/17.