The Herald Bulletin

April 12, 2013

Editorial: Wheel tax should roll around again

— Wheel tax should roll around again

The call for lower taxes resounds across Madison County. But so does the demand for services such as the upkeep of roads; without streets, few of us can get to jobs.

In part, that’s why it’s crucial that local communities showed support for reinstatement of a county wheel tax. Support has come from elected officials in Elwood, Alexandria, and Pendleton, among others.

This is an effort that all communities should support in Madison County.

When the Madison County Council decided last year to rescind the $25 wheel tax, it placed a burden on the county’s ability to receive some of the millions of dollars that could be doled out from the Indiana Department of Transportation. As currently proposed, a GOP-controlled Senate committee would increase road funding by $112 million annually to INDOT and $101 million for counties, cities and towns. But only those entities with a wheel tax would receive funding. Madison County could receive $1.4 million over two years under the budget plan.

For example, Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold has noted that his city would have been allocated $182,000 if the wheel tax was in effect.

Naturally, the first response from taxpayers is to tell elected officials to avoid taxation. The wheel tax is optional; 45 Hoosier counties have adopted it.

But the wheel tax works towards maintaining roads, a critical component of the county infrastructure. Madison County must be able to show the state that it is willing to implement a tax in order to reap its benefits and avoid further shortfalls.

Despite the general dread of taxes, it is refreshing to see the communities in Madison County working a common good.