Fishers asks to hike food-and-beverage tax

April 12, 2013
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Find a penny here and a penny there, and pretty soon you’ve got enough to spring for a vat of Diet Coke from McDonald’s—or to spur investment in a community.

The town of Fishers is aiming for the latter, asking state legislators to authorize a 1-percent food-and-beverage tax that could generate more than $1 million a year for economic development.

If House Bill 1070 is enacted, Town Council members would have until Dec. 31 to vet the idea with residents and decide whether to impose the tax. The legislation specifies that the proceeds could be used only for economic development purposes or to reduce the town’s property tax levy.

Hamilton County was one of the six counties surrounding Indianapolis that approved a 1-percent food-and-beverage tax eight years ago to help pay for construction of the $750 million Lucas Oil Stadium. Counties keep half the revenue and transfer the rest to Marion County’s Capital Improvement Board, which owns the stadium.

At the time, individual communities were given the option of instituting an additional 1-percent tax for their own use. Officials in Carmel, Noblesville and Westfield seized the opportunity, but Fishers decided not to participate. Until now.

The extra 1 percent added $1.6 million to city coffers in Carmel last year, according to the 2012 Indiana Handbook of Taxes, Revenue and Appropriations, and Noblesville brought in almost $1.3 million.

An analysis from the state Legislative Services Agency estimates Fishers could collect just over $1 million in 2014 and 2015.

As the town shifts its focus from residential development to commercial investment—and embarks on an ambitious plan to remake its downtown—every penny counts.

“We’re looking at a couple of projects where that money would be helpful,” said Town Manager Scott Fadness.

Town Council member Renee Cox said the additional revenue could be used for a variety of purposes, including economic development incentives and infrastructure improvements—“anything and everything that makes Fishers more attractive.”

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  • More info
    First, it would be helpful if you could include more, relevant information in the article. For instance, what is the current sales tax on drink/beverage in Fishers (and, for that matter, Noblesville, Carmel, etc.). That is not something, as the reader, that I should have to go research. Second, this statement is unclear: "An analysis from the state Legislative Services Agency estimates Fishers could collect just over $1 million in 2014 and 2015." Do they anticipate collecting $1m in 2014 and $1m in 2015 or $1m between those two years?
    • More info
      Thanks for the feedback, Fishers. To put it in terms I understand best, a $1 drink now costs $1.08 in Fishers with all applicable taxes. In Carmel, Noblesville and Westfield (and Indianapolis), it costs $1.09. The LSA estimates that extra penny would a little over $1 million each year in 2014 and 2015.
      • would raise
        The LSA estimates that extra penny would raise a little over $1 million each year in 2014 and 2015.
        • Enough is enough
          I live in Fishers, and I'd love to sometime see people in Fishers stand up and say 'enough is enough'. Whether it's for increasing taxes for new schools, increasing taxes for Lucas Oil Stadium, increasing taxes for this current proposal, I'm just tired of every time someone wants to up taxes in Fishers that the vast majority of people just get in line and say take as much as you want. Don't we pay enough taxes?? Let the town/city figure out how to do things within the framework they've already set up. One penny here and one penny there, and slowly but surely we get taxed to death. We already pay state taxes, local taxes (a couple of taxes that millions of people in the country currently don't pay), federal taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes, etc., etc., etc. Let the government start living within its means just those of us with families need to do! I for one am tired of paying increased taxes, and at some point in time, people in Fishers and Hamilton County just need to say NO, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
        • Food & Beverage Tax
          Enough is enough, this is a bad idea. This era is about reigning in government spending rather than increasing taxes and spending more. Again, enough is enough.
        • About Lowering
          Don't be short sighted. Spurring commercial development, which produces Much higher property tax income per acre, lessens the burden on homeowners prop. taxes. This is a good move for homeowners.
        • sales tax rates
          In 2008 the Indiana sales tax rate was increased to 7%.

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        1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

        2. Shouldn't this be a museum

        3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

        4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

        5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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