Our income tax levels (including public safety taxes) are on pace to finish at their highest level in the past decade plus. So why are we still struggling to find money to pave streets and fix our parks and other infrastructure? The short answer is that we’ve lost just under $ 2million per year in revenues from other sources since 2010.
There is an interesting article below demonstrating that we are not the only community being impacted by changes in state funding and some cities are being forced to go to the ballot for tax increases, or doing as Lebanon did, and doing a reduced tax credit for residents working in other cities.
For some perspective locally, below are revenues from our two local government funds from 2010-2015. These have decreased by 50.8% or $907,559 from 2010 to 2015.
Local Govt Fund (County) $1,503,565 $ 758,352
Local Govt Fund (State) $ 281,487 $ 119,141
Total: $1,785,052 $ 877,493
Also, for good or for bad, revenues have been lost as a result of the elimination of the inheritance tax.
Inheritance Tax $823,428 $ 20,452
Below are the revenues from the red light cameras which were discontinued in 2015.
Red Light Revenues $201,636 $36,316
In total, just from the above line items, the city receives approximately $1,875,000 less per year in general fund revenues than we did in 2010. This loss does not include the unknown impact of House Bill 5 to the City in 2017.
You may read this and say “they shouldn’t have been taxing my inheritance and ticketing my red lights anyway, and I’m not sure I disagree with you. That being said, the change took $1.875 million out of our city revenues each year moving forward. I could have used that money to pave another 5-6 six streets a year.
We are working hard to expand and diversify our tax base so that in the future we are not forced to rely on one or two industries or the State or the Federal government to determine our revenues and ultimately our success. It’s a long slow grind that will take years of hard work. In the mean time, we’re paving where we can with the revenues available and we hope that each year gets stronger than the last.