Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Some Allen County Republican Officials Upset Greater Fort Wayne Is Using Taxpayer Money To Lobby For A Tax Increase

It's a common occurrence for taxpayer-funded organizations in Indianapolis to go over to the State House and use our taxpayer dollars to lobby state lawmakers for state laws to raise taxes on Marion County residents. Who do you think lobbied to get that referendum on the ballot here in November to allow our income taxes to be raised to fund a mass transit boondoggle sought by the corrupt political insiders looking for more return on their campaign contributions? Some Allen Co. Republican officials don't like the idea that they are providing taxpayer dollars to Greater Fort Wayne, which is now over at the State House trying to convince state lawmakers to put a referendum on the ballot in Allen County to levy a 1% county-wide sales tax to help pay for the Regional Cities initiative. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette quotes from the letter:
“Naturally, there is some concern that as City Council and County Council appropriates funds to GFW, those funds are used by GFW to lobby the very entities that appropriated those funds,” the letter states.
“Moreover, the advocacy for increased sales tax, while a state issue, may create the perception that these local legislative bodies are supportive of lobbying activity upon the state. As elected officials, we have fiduciary responsibilities of safeguarding taxpayer’s interests. The potential use of taxpayer funds to advocate for additional taxes upon the very people we represent is contrary to that goal.”
According to the Journal-Gazette, the 1% sales tax would generate about $24 million a year, which would supplement the $42 million Christmas gift from the state that Gov. Mike Pence announced late last year for the city's regional initiative. Greater Fort Wayne is the product of a merger between the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance in 2013. The group gets $250,000 each from the city and county. Public money makes up close to 20% of its annual budget. Eighteen Allen County officials, including six city council members, five county council members, four state representatives and three state senators all signed the letter questioning the lobbying activities of Greater Fort Wayne in support of the tax increase.

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