Nearly a week has passed since the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute released a study showing urban counties in the state
pay more in state taxes than they receive in benefits. In effect, tax revenue flows from cities to rural areas, Ball State
The methodology has been criticized, mainly by people living in rural counties, but the results
reflect similar studies in other states.
The study has both confirmed what people in the Indianapolis area have
said for a long time—that funding flows are reasonably equitable—and rekindled discussion about the perpetual
resentment toward Indianapolis.
State Rep. Bob Behning, a Plainfield Republican, says anti-Indianapolis sentiment
is running at about the same fairly high level as when he was elected to the office in 1993. Behning’s District 91 includes
parts of Marion and Morgan counties as well as a section of Hendricks County, which was second behind Vanderburgh County in
paying more tax than it received.
He witnessed Indianapolis resentment surfacing again during the competition between
Marian University in Indianapolis and Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion over the new osteopathic medical school snagged
by Marian. One representative from the Marion area suggested Indiana Wesleyan should have gotten it because “Indianapolis
has so many things, why don’t we share,” Behning recalls.
“Because people come from varied backgrounds
in different communities, there will always be jealousy,” he says. However, Behning adds that Indianapolis is perceived
as dragging too many of its problems, such as the Capital Improvement Board’s financial mess, to the doors of the Statehouse.
Nevertheless, he believes most of the resentment is unjustified. Indianapolis gets lots of attention because of its
size and the unique issues it contends with—professional sports, for example. And for those same reasons it will for
a long time to come.
What’s your take? Does the Indianapolis area get more than its fair share of the pot
from the General Assembly? Are there legitimate reasons for the resentment?