Do you know what the new state budget does for you? Well one thing seems to be sure: Your taxes will go up!
That's right, up, and not because of reassessment either. They're going up because of TIFs. You thought TIFs were funded by new property in a TID, isn't that, right? Well, you are mostly right, but because of the changes in HEA1001 in summer of 2002, there was a change in those revenue steams, and consequently, you'll be paying directly into the TIF to make up for that short fall.
However, whom you ask will not necessarily get you the same answer. When I asked one of the County Commissioners, I was told that there would be no change since there was enough money to meet our obligations. However, both the county economic development office and the City Controller say that there will be a countywide/citywide special levy. A third source, a web site hosted by Purdue University, says the special levy will only affect the TID.
That means you are now paying for a non-representative body (the Redevelopment Commission) to determine how your taxes are being spent. Now, admittedly the increase isn't going to be large. The shortfall in the county was projected to be $157,000 for last year. If that is evenly spread over all the 40,000 households in the county, then you would see an increase of $4 a year.
Of course, that is only for you lucky county residents. Those who live in the city will pay more. If the same amount is short in each of the city TIFs, you will be paying $28, plus an additional $4 for the County. That's right, folks, you live in the county, too. So, now when someone asks how much you spend on Developer Welfare, you can say $32. Actual figures can be much lower than this, so pester you rep and find out how much you are going to kick in.
What can you do about it? Nothing. Not any more anyway. The County Commissioners had an opportunity in early January to reduce this or eliminate it even but chose inaction, which assured the levy. I didn't check with the Bloomington administration on what its deadline was, but you can be sure that Mayor Fernandez could have stopped it if he had wanted to. So send a note of thanks to the Mayor and your County Commissioners for this sneaky tax increase.
Craig Harvey is a host of WFHB's "Interchange," a weekly public affairs program that airs at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.