Hogsett indicates higher taxes, fees not likely in 2017

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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Even though he has said, “Everything is on the table,” when it comes to drawing up the city’s 2017 operating budget, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett indicated Wednesday that higher taxes and fees are not likely to be part of his proposed spending plan.

Hogsett’s administration will unveil its proposed 2017 budget to city county councilors on August 15.

During a meeting with reporters, Hogsett said that any proposals to raise taxes or increase fees to enhance revenues have not been part of his staff discussions thus far at this late date in the budget run up.

The final budget proposed and adopted by former Mayor Greg Ballard led to a $1.1 billion spending plan for 2016.

Public safety and criminal justice spending account for 89 percent of the general fund budget and next year’s budget would need to reflect expected raises for city workers as three key employee group contracts come up for renewal.

Hogsett said his staff will attempt to form a united front with other Indiana cities in approaching the General Assembly this fall in pursuit of budget relief.

Property tax caps are to blame for the city’s annual $50 million budget shortfall, said the mayor.

In 2007, Indianapolis received $450 million in property tax revenues.

That number dropped to $316 million last year as income tax revenues rose from $120 million annually to $289 million during the same period.

Hogsett said as mayor of the state’s leading city and generator of income and property tax growth, his staff would make the case that providing financial relief to Indianapolis would benefit the entire state of Indiana.

The initial Hogsett budget is based on a six-month review of city government operations and the identification of efficiencies and cost cutting across the board.

Hogsett said residents must be assured that every available option short of increased fees and taxes have been explored before he would seek additional revenue in the years to come.

The mayor’s staff is developing a three-year budget plan to reverse decades of under-funded spending by previous mayors and councils.

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