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Proposed public safety income tax increase passes Tippecanoe County Council

The increase, which is not final until the city and town councils vote on the measure, would add a .18-percent increase to the 1.1-percent county income tax.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 11:20 AM
Updated: Sep 10, 2019 1:08 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe County Council voted in favor of a public safety income tax increase Tuesday 6-1. The increase, which is not final until the city and town councils vote on the measure, would add a .18-percent increase to the  1.1-percent county income tax.

It's all in the name of public safety.


Part of Councilman Roland Winger's slideshow explaining why he voted 'nay.'

"We don't just increase taxes to increase taxes so that we can have a pot of money. If you give someone a pot of money, they're going to spend it," said District 3 Representative Kathy Vernon. "But this is a tax that will help all of us, all in this community. You know what? It's a shame we have to do this, that society has placed us in this point where we have to have more money for crime prevention."

District 2 County Councilman Roland Winger was the only 'no' vote, saying he thinks the county can absorb the cost without raising taxes. 

"I favor raises, I just don't favor these raises," said Winger. "I've got 11 years on this council showing that's true, that I do favor raises. This all calls for, certainly, increasing resources for public safety, but I think it calls for us as a council for increasing diligence on making sure we are indeed squeezing every penny that we can."

He said the county is currently operating its reserves at historic highs. He also provided reasoning saying 31 new public safety positions have been fully funded over a four year period. 

The proposed increase would add $8.2 million to the county's public safety fund. More than 55 law enforcement officials from most of the county's departments were in attendance. Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said that speaks to how important this tax is to his guys and those across the county.

"We are very thankful," said Goldsmith. "Hopefully this moves on and goes through and we are able to use this, for us the sheriff's department, for manpower."

Tuesday's vote is only about 1/3 of the final tally. The rest will come from city and town councils. The tax would need approval from 51-percent of the county's local income tax council.

So what does this mean for you?

Auditor Bob Plantenga said the tax would amount to about $65 a year for someone earning a $40,000 salary. 

Money would be restricted to public safety, including police, EMS and the jail.

If passed by Oct. 31, the tax would start Jan. 1.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said Tuesday morning he believes it would pass the Lafayette City Council.

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