Cities Seek Local Taxing Authority for Regional Quality of Life Projects

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Cities Seek Local Taxing Authority for Regional Quality of Life Projects

Proposal seeks to create incentive for "transformational" projects

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana cities and towns want to be able to join forces on local tax hikes to pay for big new projects.

Cities and towns are lobbying for a bill to let them raise money together for what Accelerate Indiana Municipalities calls "transformational" projects. AIM's Lindsey Moss says the proposal is purposely vague on what that would be, instead letting local governments decide what's right for their area. But the goal would be to enable construction projects significant enough to improve the quality of life in the region. Moss says this year's cattle call for a new Amazon headquarters shows that while a favorable tax climate can put a region in the running for economic development projects, companies ultimately want to locate in a place where their workers will want to live.

The proposal would build on the Regional Cities Initiative, which encouraged cities to collaborate in competing for state grants for new projects. It's broadly similar to the regional food and beverage tax which funded Lucas Oil Stadium. But AIM's proposal would let each county decide which kind of local tax to impose. It's designed to give cities an incentive to collaborate: they'd each keep half the proceeds, but they'd have to devote the other half to build something together.

The proposal doesn't have a legislative sponsor yet. And Indiana Economic Development Corporation president Elaine Bedel says while the IEDC endorses the emphasis on regional collaboration and building quality-of-life, the Holcomb administration isn't taking a position on the tax idea itself.
 

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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