“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.