The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

May 13, 2013

Testimony split over wheel tax reinstatement

Vote could come later this month

ANDERSON, Ind. —  Critics of reinstating the excise tax surcharge and wheel tax Monday night characterized it as burdensome and implored the Madison County Council to live within the fiscal constraints of this year’s budget.

Supporters of the fees, which are usually lumped together and simply called the wheel tax, say they’re necessary to make sure roads are adequately paved to support business and economic development, self-sufficiency and emergency services.

Public testimony on the plan went back and forth like that for a good two hours Monday as the County Council heard public testimony about the tax. A vote on the measure could come at the regular County Council meeting on May 20.

Alexandria resident Danny Hayes said low wage workers in Madison county can’t afford to pay the tax, and several people testified that large percentages of students in both Elwood and Anderson are eligible for reduced cost school lunches, which means many families already face daily financial hardships.

“People in this county making $10 an hour cannot afford this,” Hayes said.

County resident Bud Riley presented the county with a petition containing the names of 120 people who oppose reinstatement.

Riley said while collecting those names he didn’t ask people about their politics.

“I’m just here to tell you that people in this county do not want this tax,” he said.

“We’ve got to get business back in this town,” countered Micah Mitchell, who supports the wheel tax. “If we don’t take care of our infrastructure, who’s going to?”

The previous council voted to rescind the $25 surcharge and $40 wheel tax on commercial vehicles and large trailers in early April last year over the objection of local government leaders who said they depended on the taxes to pay for road paving and provide matching funds for projects that receive state and federal funding. The taxes were in effect from 2009 to 2012.

Mike Gaskill, a former councilman and one of the principal architects of last year’s repeal, said the budget they crafted actually included more money (about $1.5 million) for road paving and maintenance, as well more than $400,000 for equipment purchases than was included in previous budgets when the tax was in effect.

Anderson resident Joe Carney, however, said the money meant cuts in staff and the elimination of an entire county department.

He called it “voodoo economics,” a reference to George H. W. Bush’s characterization of supply-side economics promoted by President Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s.

“It was not voodoo economics,” Gaskill said. “It was sound fiscal policy.”

He added that if towns and cities wanted to devote more resources to road maintenance, they could do so by simply adjusting their budget priorities as the county government did.

Meanwhile, John Paugh, the president and CEO of Carter Express, and Steve Austin, the director of government affairs at Red Gold, urged members of the council to exercise restraint with the proposed tax.

Paugh estimated reinstatement of the tax would be a $100,000 hit on company revenue; Austin said Red Gold would have to pay about $20,000 in fees annually, in addition to the $120,000 the company pays in fuel taxes just in Indiana alone.

Paugh said the Anderson-based trucking and logistics company employs more than 1,140 people, of which 780 live in Madison County. He said he chose Anderson because he’s a native, and because of its central location.

“Madison County is a great place to do business if you are a motor carrier,” he said.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

1
Text Only
Local Business
  • boynton, brandon photo Teen receives funding for business venture Brandon Boynton is moving forward with his business dreams, thanks in part to a local working capital loan and a fundraising campaign.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senior housing project advances If all the pieces fall into place within the next two weeks, construction on a new senior housing development could begin this fall.

    July 30, 2014

  • Roundabout bids higher than expected Bids for a planned facelift of the gateway into Anderson from Interstate 69 at Scatterfield Road came in considerably higher than the engineer’s estimate for the project.

    July 29, 2014

  • FEA - HB0729 - Senior Falls Aging safely in the comfort of her home Marilyn Moneyhun said being totally reliant on others is difficult. "Losing your independence is a shock to your system," Moneyhun, 84, said. "You are not in control anymore."

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - business expansion CB Fabricating makes $2 million investment

    A local business founded in 2006 has invested $2 million in new equipment and a building expansion.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charo Boyd: 'My Social Security' simplifies your life So many people buzz through extremely busy and complicated schedules these days. A smartphone in one hand, a computer in front of you, and a digital task list that never seems to end. In addition, to complicate things just a little more, there’s another event you need to add to your list — National Simplify Your Life week.

    July 28, 2014

  • nws - hb0725 - colts - jc - 4.jpg Colts camp's impact: pricey or priceless?

    Football fever is here and the city is flooded with fans eager to catch a glimpse of a favorite player. But officials say they are unclear what kind of economic impact the Indianapolis Colts training camp has on the area.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ - HB0727 - Skill gap 2 Seeking a solution today, not tomorrow Tina Warner-Morton says she wants to open her own healthcare business because it is too difficult to work for an employer with unclear employee expectations.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ - HB0727 - Cathy Cupboard Biz Profile Business Profile: Cathy's Cupboard focuses on customer satisfaction Cathy McPhearson opened her first storefront in June, but this is not her first venture into business. “I have always wanted to have my own business,” she said. “The problem was finding what people like, but everyone seems to like candles.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital named Level III trauma center The Trauma Center at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital has been verified as a Level III Trauma Center by an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons.

    July 26, 2014

Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide