Bait & Switch

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THE BAIT: Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen proclaims that he needs a permanent 50% increase in the county-wide Local Income Tax to pay for his Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan.

THE SWITCH: Much of the 50% county-wide Local Income Tax increase would NOT be used to pay for new spending on public safety needs.

THE BOTTOM LINE: All of the revenue from the 50% Local Income Tax increase – together with other tax dollars – would be used to fund the 2017 public safety budgets of the Boone County, Advance, Jamestown, Lebanon, Thorntown, Whitestown, and Zionsville government units. However, the revenue from the 50% Local Income Tax increase in 2017 would replace other tax dollars that the government units would have otherwise spent on public safety needs – AND these replaced tax dollars would be available for spending on who knows what! The amount of the 2017 replaced tax dollars that would be available for non-public safety spending can be computed by subtracting a government unit’s NEW public safety spending in 2017 from the extra tax dollars that the government unit receives from the 50% Local Income Tax increase.

Boone County Government Unit

The Sheriff’s desired 2017 budget to pay for his Business Plan totals $7,994,106. The total budget for the Sheriff’s Office in 2016 was $5,965,264. Therefore, the Sheriff wants $2,028,842 to pay for NEW spending on his Business Plan public safety needs in 2017.

The 50% hike in the county-wide Local Income Tax would come from increasing the County Tax rate on the state Individual Income Tax Return filed by every Boone County resident from 1% to 1.5% of State Taxable Income. The 50% increase in the Local Income Tax would total $12,759,746 in 2017 for the entire county. The portion of the 50% total Local Income Tax increase that would go to the Boone County government is $4,548,632.

By subtracting the $2,028,842 that the Sheriff wants for new spending on his public safety needs in 2017 FROM the $4,548,632 that the Boone County government would receive in 2017 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase, it is determined that $2,519,790 of the 50% Local Income Tax increase would NOT be used by the Boone County government in 2017 to pay for NEW spending by the Sheriff’ on his Business Plan public safety needs – in other words, $2,519,790 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase would be available for spending by the Boone County government on who knows what. Only 45% of its 2017 Local Income Tax increase would be spent by the Boone County government on the NEW Business Plan public safety needs of the Sheriff.

Town of Zionsville Government Unit

Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak announced at the September 13 Boone County Council meeting that 6 new police officers and 12 new firefighters would be hired in 2017 if there is a 50% increase in the Local Income Tax. The “Zionsville Public Safety Needs” presentation at http://www.zionsville-in.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1267 reveals that (a) the cost of hiring one new police officer is $131,000 and (b) it costs $91,000 to hire one new firefighter. Therefore, it would cost $786,000 to hire 6 new Zionsville police officers and $1,092,000 to hire 12 new Zionsville firefighters. In summary, Zionsville wants a total of $1,878,000 to pay for NEW spending on additional police officers and firefighters in 2017.

The 50% hike in the county-wide Local Income Tax would come from increasing the County Tax rate on the state Individual Income Tax Return filed by every Boone County resident from 1% to 1.5% of State Taxable Income. The 50% increase in the Local Income Tax would total $12,759,746 in 2017 for the entire county. The portion of the 50% total Local Income Tax increase that would go to Zionsville is $3,888,358.

By subtracting the $1,878,000 that Zionsville wants for new spending on additional police officers and firefighters in 2017 FROM the $3,888,358 that Zionsville would receive in 2017 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase, it is determined that $2,010,358 of the 50% Local Income Tax increase would NOT be used by Zionsville in 2017 to pay for NEW spending on public safety needs – in other words, $2,010,358 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase would be available for non-public safety spending by Zionsville on who knows what. Only 48% of its 2017 Local Income Tax increase would be spent by Zionsville on NEW public safety needs.

City of Lebanon Government Unit

The data used for this determination was obtained from the Lebanon City Council work sessions for the 2017 budget.

The 2016 approved budgets total $5,155,446 for the Lebanon Police Department ($2,961,800) and the Lebanon Fire Department ($2,193,646).

The 2017 proposed Lebanon Police Department budget WITHOUT the 50% Local Income Tax increase is $2,992,886, and includes one additional patrol officer so a second officer can be assigned to the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force by mid-July 2017. In spite of the LPD Chief stating that the manpower in his department is now sufficient, he was asked to submit a wish list if the 50% Local Income Tax increase is passed – the wish list includes an eventual four more police officers, an expansion of the police station to handle the new officers, an on-site weight room, a paint ball training facility at the firing range, a remote control moving target system at the firing range, a gator for snow removal and trail patrols, more cameras at city properties, and two more radar speed signs. Because it is unconscionable to use an excessive 50% Local Income Tax increase on low income Lebanon residents to fund any LPD unneeded nice-to-have WANTS, it should be concluded that the appropriate LPD budget for 2017 is $2,992,886 WITHOUT the 50% Local Income Tax increase.

The 2017 proposed Lebanon Fire Department budget WITHOUT the 50% Local Income Tax increase is about $2,515,071, and includes two new firefighters, an administrative assistant, and a lease payment on a new fire engine. The LFD Chief has proposed a $1,295,571 new Emergency Medical Services Division that would include seven combination firefighters and emergency medical technicians, six civilian paramedics, a division chief, a support vehicle, and two ambulances. Because improved emergency ambulance service appears to be needed in Lebanon, it is appropriate to conclude that the 2017 LFD budget should total $3,810,642 ($2,515,071 + $1,295,571) if there is a 50% Local Income Tax increase.

Therefore, the 2017 proposed budgets should total $6,803,528 for the Lebanon Police Department ($2,992,886) and the Lebanon Fire Department ($3,810,642).

Lebanon wants a total of $1,648,082 ($6,803,528 in 2017 less $5,155,446 in 2016) to pay for NEW spending on police and fire protection in 2017.

The 50% hike in the county-wide Local Income Tax would come from increasing the County Tax rate on the state Individual Income Tax Return filed by every Boone County resident from 1% to 1.5% of State Taxable Income. The 50% increase in the Local Income Tax would total $12,759,746 in 2017 for the entire county. The portion of the 50% total Local Income Tax increase that would go to Lebanon is $2,469,624.

By subtracting the $1,648,082 that Lebanon wants for new spending on police and fire protection in 2017 FROM the $2,469,624 that Lebanon would receive in 2017 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase, it is determined that $821,542 of the 50% Local Income Tax increase would NOT be used by Lebanon in 2017 to pay for NEW spending on public safety needs – in other words, $821,542 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase would be available for non-public safety spending by Lebanon on who knows what. Only 67% of its 2017 Local Income Tax increase would be spent by Lebanon on NEW public safety needs.

Town of Whitestown Government Unit

A Whitestown Town Council member recently E-mailed a lengthy tome where he indicated that Whitestown is preparing two budgets – one budget without a Local Income Tax increase, and another budget with the 50% Local Income Tax increase.

The Whitestown budget WITHOUT a Local Income Tax increase is detailed in the 2017 Whitestown Town Budget Ordinance 2016-40 and its associated “Budget Book.” The 2017 budgets without a Local Income Tax increase for the Whitestown Police Department ($2,123,633) and the Whitestown Fire Department ($3,343,515) total $5,467,148. The 2016 adopted budgets total $4,914,932 for the Whitestown Police Department ($1,780,084) and the Whitestown Fire Department ($3,134,848). In summary, Whitestown wants a total of $552,216 ($5,467,148 - $4,914,932) to pay for NEW spending on police and fire protection in 2017 without a Local Income Tax increase. It appears that the number of full time law enforcement officers will increase in 2017 from 14 to 19 – and that no new firefighters will be hired.

The Whitestown Town Council member indicates that if the county-wide 50% Local Income Tax increase is imposed next year, ALL $1,664,508 of the portion of the increase that would go to Whitestown would be used to pay for new public safety spending. In other words, new public safety spending in Whitestown would supposedly increase from $552,216 to a whopping $1,664,508 in 2017 if the 50% Local Income Tax increase is imposed. This prompts an important question of just how much of the Whitestown 50% Local Income Tax increase would be spent on actual public safety NEEDS as opposed to nice-to-have police and fire department WANTS.

Whitestown will hire 5 new police officers in 2017 if there is no 50% Local Income Tax increase. Just how many more currently unneeded police officers would be hired if the 50% Local Income Tax increase is imposed? The latest call data provided by the Boone County Sheriff shows that 53% of the Whitestown Police Department calls for service are self-initiated rather that 911 emergency responses. How many more Whitestown police officers are needed to sit along the side of the road and wait for speeders? An overstaffed police department can be just as much a concern in some ways as one that is understaffed.

IN CONCLUSION, if the 2017 budget without the 50% Local Income Tax increase sufficiently meets the public safety NEEDS of Whitestown, then $1,112,292 of the 50% Local Income Tax increase ($1,664,508 of the total increase less the $552,216 needed for public safety without the increase) would be available for Whitestown to spend on non-public safety needs. It would be Taxpayer Friendly for Whitestown to spend $1,112,292 of the 50% Local Income Tax increase on non-public safety NEEDS rather than nice-to-have public safety WANTS. Only one-third of the 50% Local Income Tax increase would be spent by Whitestown on NEW public safety needs while the remainder would be spent on other non-public safety needs. Whitestown certainly does have unmet non-public safety needs considering the many hundreds of thousands of tax dollars they have squandered on predatory and illogical annexations.

Town of Thorntown Government Unit

The data used for this determination was provided by the Thorntown Clerk-Treasurer.

The 2017 Thorntown Town Council budgets for the Thorntown Police Department ($247,070) and for fire public safety in Thorntown ($47,500) total $294,570. The 2016 Thorntown Town Council budgets total $324,600 for the Thorntown Police Department ($282,100) and for fire public safety in Thorntown ($42,500). In summary, Thorntown plans to spend $30,030 ($324,600-$294,570) LESS on police and fire protection in 2017.

The 50% hike in the county-wide Local Income Tax would come from increasing the County Tax rate on the state Individual Income Tax Return filed by every Boone County resident from 1% to 1.5% of State Taxable Income. The 50% increase in the Local Income Tax would total $12,759,746 in 2017 for the entire county. The portion of the 50% total Local Income Tax increase that would go to Thorntown is $79,882.

Because Thorntown will not need ANY of its 2017 Local Income Tax increase for new public safety needs in 2017, ALL $79,882 from the 50% Local Income Tax increase would be available for non-public safety spending by Thorntown on who knows what. NONE of its 2017 Local Income Tax increase would be spent by Thorntown on NEW public safety needs.

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This page was last updated on 09/27/16 .