road funding

Chris Morisse Vizza

The Tippecanoe County Commissioners say they want input from the mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette before establishing a new bridge tax.

The commissioners on Monday had planned to schedule a meeting so taxpayers could comment on creation of a major bridge fund. It would pay for large bridges scheduled for replacement in the next 50 years.

But Auditor Bob Plantenga says the property tax increase may trigger state-mandated tax caps that would slightly decrease the amount of revenue for the cities of Lafayette, West Lafayette and Otterbein.

Uwe Mayer / flickr.com/photos/intermayer/

The road funding bill signed into law last week could raise your taxes, depending on where you live in Indiana.

Forty-two counties already charge a vehicle tax.

But the road funding deal gives them room to increase the tax, and for the first time, cities have the power to impose their own wheel tax.

Seventy-nine cities are large enough – from Indianapolis to Plymouth- to be eligible for the tax.

John Perlich, spokesman for Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry, says it’s too soon to say whether Fort Wayne will pursue the taxing authority.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday signed two bills into law that give state and local governments an influx of about $1 billion in road funding over the next two years after. 

Most of the legislation’s money is short-term or one-time dollars, and much of the local road funding comes from a one-time distribution of local income tax reserves.  The state’s portion will come from the state budget surplus. 

But Pence says a portion of the bills that redirects some of the state sales tax on gasoline will be more than a short-term answer.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

PROPERTY TAXES FOR FARMERS

The House and Senate Thursday passed a bill that addresses what supporters call rapidly increasing tax bills for farmers. The bill, now headed to the governor’s desk, changes the way those taxes are calculated.

Indiana’s agricultural land taxes are based on income rather than the underlying value of property. Some say the formula that generates that tax is outdated, and that a string of bad years for crop farmers has amplified the problem.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

The 2016 Indiana legislative session may be remembered as much for what lawmakers didn’t pass as much as for what they did. 

While leadership dubbed this the “roads” session, it did not produce a long term road funding solution.

The general assembly also failed to produce a definitive position on LGBT civil rights.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith wraps up the 119th General Assembly with a review of a few passes and big issues that found an answer.

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

As often happens on the last day of a legislative session, schedules change and rules are suspended, but the show must go on and deadlines must be met. Such is the case with this week’s Ask The Mayor, featuring Crawfordsville’s Todd Barton pinch-hitting during the second Thursday of the month for Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. 

We probe Mayor Barton’s thoughts on a push by the League of Women Voters to establish a non-partisan commission to draw Indiana’s legislative boundaries.

Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

Senate lawmakers and House Democrats pushed back Monday against those advocating for the House Republican road funding proposal and its two tax increases. 

Lawmakers heard about an hour of public testimony on road funding from local government officials and road construction industry representatives.  And the people who testified all say none of the plans offered this year provide a permanent solution. 

Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

5:17 p.m. UPDATE:

ADOPTION RECORDS

Most children adopted in Indiana from 1941-1993 will have access to their birth records under a bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Mike Pence. 

The bill gives birth mothers from 1941-1993 four options.  They can tell the state to allow their children to contact them or they can bar contact entirely.  They can allow contact, but only through a third party.  Or they can just allow their children to access the mother’s medical records.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Legislative leaders meet with Gov. Pence Friday morning to begin final negotiations on how to pay for road repairs, and whether taxes will go up to do it.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is adamant the Senate won't go along with House Republicans' call to raise taxes on gas and cigarettes -- he says there needs to be a more thorough study of just what the state is building and the options for paying for it.

Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

Senate lawmakers Tuesday advanced their compromise on the ongoing road funding debate. 

The Senate’s version of the road funding bill does not raise any taxes (unlike its House counterpart).  Instead, it would spend down the state’s surplus and give local governments more freedom to raise or create road funding taxes. 

It would also create a new task force compromised of lawmakers and state and local officials. Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says the task force will focus on transportation infrastructure needs and develop long-term funding solutions.

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