Editor's note: On Feb. 6, 2014, Indianapolis Public Library Chief Executive Jackie Nytes sent the following letter to Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma:
I am writing on behalf of the Indianapolis Public Library which serves so many of your constituents and I am deeply concerned about our ability to continue to do so in the current tax climate. This week the Senate approved SB1 which includes changes related to the business personal property tax and forwarded it to the House for your consideration.
The current SB1 proposes elimination of the tax for businesses reporting $25K or under, reported to be 71% of the businesses now filing & paying this tax. The revenue loss is less than the originally proposed full elimination, but it still hits urban counties such as ours the hardest and the losses projected, on top of the already higher than anticipated cuts due to tax caps, are a significant burden.
As originally proposed, the Library's additional loss was $4,257,908 of the $120,868,028 total for Marion County. As now proposed in SB 1 (fiscal impact report by Legislative Services Agency dated January 30) Marion County's additional revenue reduction would be $6,126,840 and the Library's 3.6% proportionate loss would be $220,566 a year. That's the amount we spent in direct costs in 2012 to operate our smaller neighborhood branches like West Indianapolis or Flanner House.
This new reduction would be in addition to the $6.1 M loss in annual revenue due to tax caps we've been advised to include in the 5 year financial projections we are making as part of our strategic plan.
Representative Bosma, we want to help strengthen Indianapolis and Marion County, to improve the quality of life and amenities that businesses and families can celebrate as a reason to move here and stay here. This decision will make it increasingly difficult for us to serve the community and we urge you to defeat the proposal completely or at a minimum find a new source of replacement funds that do not require local officials to vote on as you know fully well that puts them in a difficult situation.
The Governor and/or the Legislature get all the credit for reducing taxes, but the locals would be blamed for raising other taxes to provide needed services. And if optional, you pit one county against another when it comes to economic development. This approach which we have seen repeatedly in recent years, is starving local government.
We urge you to respect the needs of your local government units who serve your constituents every day!
Jackie Nytes, CEO