NEW ALBANY TAX ABATEMENTS - HOW MANY ARE THERE?
We were reading the Courier Journal June 16th, 2010 about Indiana House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer and how he is seeking information from the state's top economic development agency to determine if it is lax in taking back tax breaks from companies that fail to create promised jobs.
New Albany's tax breaks (tax abatements) are off the charts. (And we wonder why our revenue is short!) When we investigated tax abatements for this City we found a whole lot of issues.
One, simply getting the report from the then Auditor was a tough job. When we asked for the report of tax abatements for the City we received four pages.
Knowing there were a lot more, we had to dig deeper. It took a person outside of government to tell us to ask for tax abatements broken by township. We then received over 20 computer print out sheets. The amount was staggering. Especially compared to one in the whole of Floyd County, SHOTS.
We see business and individuals come in to Council meetings and it seems as long as they appear, their abatements are extended. No questions asked, no paper work checked, no checks and balances.
There are people living in the County getting tax abatements. There are people who have sold their businesses and still get tax abatements (property sold on contract which doesn't tickle records). We know of non-profits (who don't file taxes) getting tax abatements. New Directions at first had one and the City actually called them trying to get them to come back and renew theirs. They declined.
At least the State is looking at business payroll to determine if the payroll is adequate to kick the tax incentives. Nothing like this exists.
You have to ask yourself what is the racket and how does the racket work? There has to be something in it for the individual handing them out yet citizens don't know his angle.
If England annexes Charlestown Road's businesses are we simply going to turn around and give them all tax abatements? How much you want to bet we will? Then, there goes our revenue to pay for the annexation.
This was a topic at the Mayor's meet and greet and we were discussing same today. How do you feel about this give away? To us it would be okay if citizens simply knew Council and/or the Deputy Mayor followed up or checked on any of these businesses. Until they do, we'll probably be discussing this issue until the cows come home.
What do you think?
(I have to apologize for this article running together. I appreciate the opportunity to blog on here but I can't get the paragraphs to space apart.)