Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

March 13, 2014

Schools criticize state tax proposal

GREENSBURG – Greensburg school officials on Tuesday rebuked state legislators for a business tax cut proposal that would reduce the school corporation’s revenues by up to $300,000.

At the urging of Gov. Mike Pence, state legislators since late last year have discussed the elimination or a reduction of the property tax that businesses pay on machinery. A repeal of the tax would lower revenues of local governmental units, including cities, counties and schools, by about $1 billion statewide.

The Greensburg Community Schools’ board unanimously adopted a resolution that said the cuts would “hurt families and jeopardize our children’s educational opportunities.” The resolution asked that legislators find a way to replace the $1 billion if they vote to repeal the tax.

Superintendent Tom Hunter, who had asked board members to sign the resolution, also told board members that the school corporation is projected to see its revenues cut by about $225,000 this year because of state tax caps. The state in 2008 limited the amount of taxes paid by people who own property in Indiana. Taxes for homeowners, for example, were capped at 1 percent of assessed valuation. That means owners of a home assessed at $100,000 can pay no more than $1,000 in annual property taxes.

Hunter said Tuesday that because of the tax caps, local schools would receive $225,000 less in revenue this year. Last year’s loss was less than $200,000.

“We’re seeing more and more damage every year,” Hunter said.

According to the resolution that the school board adopted, Greensburg Community Schools have seen their funding fall by about $4 million since 2009.

Fiscal constraints also will require the schools to make some staffing changes before the next school year. Hunter said that schools will not replace all of the five people who are retiring or have retired this year. Schools will have to cut staff to bring revenues in line with expenditures, he said. Hunter planned to provide the school board with more details at the next meeting.

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