Fishers council gives up on food-and-beverage tax

December 30, 2013
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The window of opportunity is about to close on a proposed 1-percent food-and-beverage tax in Fishers.

Legislators set a Dec. 31 deadline for the Town Council to pass the tax, the revenue from which could only be used to lower property taxes or support economic development efforts.  But members tabled the controversial measure earlier this month when they couldn’t reach a consensus.

At the time, councilors said a vote was still possible by the end of the year—particularly if a pending economic development deal could be finalized in time to show residents how the tax revenue would be used.

Critics who spoke during two public hearings on the proposal this fall said it didn’t make sense to impose a new tax without tying it to a specific economic development project.

Councilors who supported the additional levy insisted several deals are in the works, including one that could result in a $100 million investment in the community.

The tax is estimated to generate about $1 million a year, which council veteran Scott Faultless said could be leveraged to make about $25 million in necessary infrastructure improvements to land that big deal.

But councilors took no action at their final regular meeting of the year on Dec. 27, and Indiana’s open door law requires public agencies to announce meetings at least two days in advance. So the proposal will die without a vote.

What that means for the pending deals remains to be seen.

The council could ask the General Assembly to reauthorize the tax, but that's not likely to be received well at the Statehouse. And even supporters may be hard-pressed to to push for a tax hike during an election year; Fishers residents go to the polls in both 2014 and 2015.

Hamilton County was one of six counties that imposed a 1-percent food-and-beverage tax eight years ago as part of a regional deal to help build Lucas Oil Stadium. Half of that revenue is transferred to Marion County’s Capital Improvement Board, which owns the stadium.

At the time, municipalities could choose to institute an additional 1-percent tax for their own use. Officials in Carmel, Noblesville and Westfield seized the opportunity, but Fishers said no.

  • Ridiculousness
    The arguments against amounted to about 0.0002% of the Fishers population, those who own a restaurant or bar. The arguments for would be additional, annual revenue for the Town/City that no individual person actually paying the tax cared about. Seriously, does anyone spending $50 at a local establishment care that you would have put 50 cents more on the table for the tax? Ridiculousness.
    • Corprate Welfare
      Rowdy doesn't think anyone would care about leaving another $.50 on the table when paying a $50 bill at a local establishment. Well I have news for you Rowdy, I am a Fishers resident and I would care since this tax is just to create more corporate welfare for a business that isn't yet know to the public. The use tax incentives to bring a business into a community is nothing more than tax payer blackmail and I for one am sick and tired of it. The big corporations receiving these tax breaks have run all of the old mom and pop shops of all kinds out of business because they don't get these breaks and the big guys do. Perhaps Rowdy should look around and find out just how mad many citizens actually are because of the tremendous income inequity that exist in this country today. People like me on a fixed income can't afford to give more to the 1% at the top of the income ladder.
      • Spoken Like a True Liberal
        Jerry's comments are laughable. This liberal tripe is the kind of anti-capitalistic dribble that is extending the Obama resession. Jerry doesn't seem to understand that it is corporate america that brings jobs and tax dollars to local economies. That's why tax incentives are given to businesses to encourage them to open up within the community. Walmart is a great example. Walmart provide tens of thousands of jobs to low income, unskilled workers by providing low cost goods to the public, again serving the lower income public. It's a win-win for low income individuals, but because they do it without bowing down to a union, the liberals hate walmart. Let's do what is in the best interest of bringing jobs and tax dollars to Fishers and do all we can to bring economic development to Fishers before Nobelsville becomes the destination of choice for shoppers.
        • Read
          Tim- Have you read a newspaper or any articles on the TRUE costs of Walmart? The majority of their employees do not receive a living wage. Forcing the government to pick up the tab.....sounds like true corporate welfare to me.
        • Living Wage?
          "Living Wage". Now there's another great liberal expression that simply means paying someone more that their skills and knowledge would warrant. Perhaps the all-knowing, all-benevolent goverment should just pay everyone $50,000 a year. That way we would all be equal in spite of our skills and abilities to produce. Oh but wait, that would mean that no one would pay the price to become doctors or to do the research and invest the dollars necessary to invent new products. We would all be non-productive robots. Our whole economy and life style would stagnate. But we would be equal.
          • *sigh*
            Tim, I'm not sure how you got on a rant about paying everyone 50 grand a year and peppering it with some of that conservative Ayn Rand none sense....but you completely missed my point. If a huge employer like Walmart can only exist because they pay artificially low wages that must be propped up with government programs (not very "conservative is it)., then there is a huge problem.
          • Tax Increase
            Wonder why this article doesn't mention where Fadness stood on this issue? Rumor is Scott Fadness wanted this tax increase. Why would Fadness want a tax increase after he brought the town out of the red into the black? Why would he want a tax increase after a 15 million surplus? Could it have something to do with the out of control spending going on by Fadness's staff? One example of the out of control spending is the Public Works paint truck. The town paid 150,000 dollars for this truck. What does the Buffon of a Public Works director Pethel do he hires contractors do the painting on the streets. While thie paint truck may have been winterized it would have been cheaper to use this truck than hire contractors especially when Pethel's motto is find a way to bill the schools. I guess he couldn't find a way to bill the school for this expenditure. The town council should not raise taxes until Fadness has his department heads get spending under control.
            • Fadness
              Not only was Fadness in favor of this tax, he is the one who introduced this to council at their summit. He is the one who put it on council agenda for a vote to approve. Fadness was the one who spent town funds to hire a law firm to lobby for this at the state house. Anyone who opposed the town becoming a city should not become the mayor of that city.

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            1. Choice between a democrat and a question mark? Take the question mark. We have all seen what the democrats will do.

            2. Its easy to blame workers. What about the Management of the Mill. Its not smart in business to not have a back up plan. Workers are afforded sick days in most cases. Union or not. Whether drunk partying, or a real sickness. Why would you as a businessman/woman not have a rotation of workers incase this happens. This is not an exclusive union protection. If the company can prove bad intentions on the part of any union employee. They can take action. Most CBA's have a 3 strike policy. Just like most Non-union company policies. You should read a CBA sometime. There are protections for companies too. Unions understand that businesses need to make money. If they don't, the union's member won't have a place to work.

            3. My kids play hockey on the North side and we have been very happy with the youth program. More Ice would create more opportunity for kids to pay this great sport. With 3 rinks that would also create more figure skating opportunities. What better gift to give your kids than a sport they will love!

            4. Naah, only Indy place fans were robbed of seeing Zanardi race. CART fans saw his amazing talents just about every weekend. And F1 fans saw him too. Zanardi didn't care he wasn't at Indy, neither do 99.18% of other race fans world wide. And CART fans are quite pleased of the domination of their drivers and owners have had at Indy, in the IRL, and in the current Indycar series....almost 99.18% of the time since 2000 Indy 500. I respect Zanardi, but his life goes on without Indy. Sucks to be you Capt.

            5. So let me get this right: gun permits online are fraud proof, but voting is as easy as 1-2-3.--But at least we agree that someone without a photo ID cannot be trusted with a gun.