The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution opposing pending legislation that would eliminate any portion of the personal property tax in Indiana.
The Indiana General Assembly is considering SB1 and HB1001 which, in different forms, would either totally or partially eliminate the personal property tax in all Indiana counties.
“We felt it was important for the Library Board to have a unified statement in opposition to SB1 and HB12001, in any form, because of the dire impact it would have on the services and operations of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library,” said Mary Baker, president of the Library Board. “We already are faced with the challenge of reduced revenue because of the property tax caps, cutting over $500,000 from our current budget, resulting in a reduction of hours to the public, materials, and planned capital improvements. The Library Board understands that the proposed legislation to cut funding even further will have devastating consequences to the level of services our community has come to expect from the library.”
Vice President of the Library Board Gil Hendrickson said, “If we want to believe that the tax change under consideration is about jobs, we need to remember that local government has lots of good jobs that are funded by this tax. At the library, about three-quarters of our budget funds the costs of employing about 100 people, about 50 of these jobs are full time, many requiring college educations. There is nothing to cut but jobs if we need to cut the budget more. Killing those jobs to try to possibly create jobs to replace them brings to mind the old question about ‘one bird in hand or two in the bush.’ Most of local government is service, and losing revenue will lose some of those jobs. I am not arguing against tax reform. I am arguing against state legislation that radically cuts local government, local government services, and good established jobs.”
Member Joe Dunbar added, “While we are sympathetic to the state's desire to create a favorable climate for economic growth, we are firmly convinced that taking revenue from libraries, schools, and city government creates a negative climate for growth. The state should continue to pursue additional jobs and growth but in ways that do not weaken the high-quality support services needed for a favorable social, cultural, and educational environment.”
“By passing this resolution, the Library Board demonstrates their understanding that to maintain strong and vital services the library must have continued financial support,” said KHCPL Director Faith Brautigam. “They care about the quality of life in our community and understand the danger ahead if we allow public funding to erode.”