Schools, Taxing Units Concerned Over Tax Proposal

Sep 10, 2016

Map of projected areas affected by potential property tax increases.
Credit City of Fort Wayne

A new resolution in the Fort Wayne City Council seeks to eliminate the business personal property tax on new equipment, and the proposal has local school districts and taxing units concerned.

The business personal property taxes are levied on equipment used by businesses. That revenue is then distributed to taxing units, like schools. If the tax is removed -- or, as the resolution suggests, phased out -- these units could be responsible for their losses.

Mayor Tom Henry says the tax hasn’t really been an issue in Fort Wayne until the resolution was proposed.

“Very few businesses complain about it," Henry said. "Would they prefer not to pay it? Certainly. But they understand that responsibility to support their communities.”

The state legislature recently made it possible for local governments to “look into” their use of the personal property tax. According to Henry, Fort Wayne is the first city to do so.

The City projects losses of $12.3 million among four school districts. Fort Wayne Community Schools would see the biggest loss, projected near $8 million.

FWCS school board president Mark GiaQuinta says those losses could result in a reduction of services, like transportation.

“As a board, we simply cannot stand by and watch our children walk the busy streets of Fort Wayne on the way to school without our ability to replace those funds,” said GiaQuinta.

The measure will be discussed in Fort Wayne’s City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13. The following taxing units and their potential financial losses can be viewed below, as projected by the City of Fort Wayne:

*City of Fort Wayne – loss of $15.4 million in annual revenues
*Allen County government – loss of $6.6 million in annual revenues
*Allen County Public Library – loss of $2.5 million in annual revenues
*Fort Wayne Community Schools – loss of $7.9 million in annual revenues
*Southwest Allen County Schools – loss of $1.7 million in annual revenues
*East Allen County Schools – loss of $1 million in annual revenues
*Northwest Allen County Schools – loss of $1.7 million in annual revenues
*City of New Haven – loss of $791,000 in annual revenues
*Homeowners who’ve not reached the property tax cap – two-thirds of homeowners countywide would see a collective increase of $7 million in property taxes