During this month’s County Council meeting it was mentioned that an email had been sent out with the suggestion of having a work session on the implementation of a LOHUT tax for Marshall County to help fund additional road work. Council member Bill Githens suggested inviting our legislators to the work session including Senator Ryan Mishler, Senator Randy Head and Representative Tim Harman. His hope was they would take back the council’s feedback to the statehouse.
Councilman Rex Gilliland said he along with council members Judy Stone and Don Morrison attended the Association of Indiana Counties conference where part of the topic was local road funding. One of the speakers said there are 98,000 road miles in the State of Indiana and all but 12,000 of them belong to the counties. The speaker said you could raise the gas tax up an additional $.47 cents a gallon and it still wouldn’t cut it. It was explained that more people are going to hybrids and more semis are going to propane fuel and vehicle are getting more fuel efficient.
Gilliland said, “They told us to get prepared to enact something locally. We are going to have to have some skin in the game because the state money is going to slowly dwindle away.”
Councilwoman Judy Stone said, “It’s the trickledown effect.”
Githens said, “Rex and I think if we had a local option county gas tax, just a couple pennies from people from Michigan driving down with their boats and those driving through the county could help fund the local county gas tax.”
Gilliland said several counties at the AIC had not implemented the LOHUT but an Economic Development Tax instead which could be used for roads and other items.
Councilman Steve Harper said, “The Economic Development Tax allows the county so much more flexibility. It’s also an income tax verses a license plate tax. The county right now doesn’t have any way to fund economic development in any shape or form other than Rainy Day so I see the economic development tax being so much more flexible and those monies could be used in an array of ways if that money didn’t all go to highway funds.”
Stone said, “There is one thing for sure, that until we help ourselves they can care less for helping us down state. I’ve heard that time after time after time.”