Business Personal Property Tax Elimination Fails In City Council

Sep 28, 2016

Credit Zach Bernard/WBOI News

A proposal to eliminate the business personal property tax went before the Fort Wayne City Council for vote Tuesday night.

The personal property tax is levied on equipment used by businesses, and the funds are disbursed to taxing units, like schools and libraries.

Proponents said the tax discourages small business growth and as a result, decreases local competition. Opponents, like former councilman Tim Pape, were concerned with how it would shift tax burdens to middle-class homeowners, using his property as an example.

“I don’t know why the state of Indiana and the people of the legislature want to give a guy like me a huge property tax cut, while in the meantime, some of my neighbors who own more modest houses, they have their property taxes increased,” said Pape.

Ultimately, the Council voted against the measure 5-3. The bill’s author, councilman Jason Arp, left the meeting feeling optimistic.

“We had a great discussion, we got to hear everyone’s opinions,” Arp said. “Obviously, I’m disappointed with the outcome, but we learned a lot and we’ll take a look at this some other time.”

While this version of the bill failed, members, like councilman John Crawford, expressed interest in giving it a closer look in the future.

“If I had more time to study and possibly analyze it further, possibly find some replacement revenues, my vote in the future might be yes,” Crawford said.

Crawford proposed a meeting in January with stakeholders like schools and homeowners to further discuss local taxing possibilities.