Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Stopping the tax buck

December 7, 2007
We Hoosiers are getting value from the libraries, schools and other public services we fund with our taxes, but not enough valueâ??at least according to Mike Hicks, who moved from Ohio this year to take over the Bureau of Business Research at Ball State University.

Legions of board members across the state make reasoned decisions to add wings to libraries and build schools to try to improve quality of life. The problem, Hicks says, is the collective weight of all those spending decisions drives up the overall tax bill more than most communities can justify.

If the overall tax bill were in line with the value of services received, Indiana housing values would be rising faster, his research shows. Home values would rise because people would consider the towns or neighborhoods good places to live and bid up the price.

Hicksâ?? solution is to route all local spending decisions through one local office or commission â?? someone charged with deciding whether the library wing or school is the better use of money.

Do you agree with him?
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