Opinion: Let’s talk taxes

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By Sophie Pappas

Last week Current in Zionsville published the figures for the proposed tax abatements that would lessen the tax burden on Hat World, Inc. once it is constructed at Creekside Corporate Park.

The real estate abatement is estimated to be $194,438 per year. The personal property abatement is estimated to be $15,350 per year, both for10 years.

To some Zionsville residents, these seem like gigantic numbers- especially when homeowners here see some of the highest property taxes in the state. (This, no less, being right next to our neighbors in Carmel who pay some of the lowest property taxes in the state.)

So, why grant the abatements to a large company that could easily pay forth the full amount of property taxes from the get-go? The answer is that it’s a huge incentive. Months and sometimes years of faxing and phoning takes place before a company of Hat World’s size decides to plant its roots (and a substantial number of its workforce) in a new area.

Let’s visit other cities around the country that have historically granted tax abatements to boost their economy; for example, Los Angeles and Dallas. I’m not saying Zionsville is on the same scaled as these mega-cities, however if we want to move towards lessening the tax burden on residents here, we need to expand our options and welcome large corporations.

Hat World is expected to spend close to $22 million in developing its new property. So I would imagine that after spending that sort of money, they are likely to stay in Zionsville longer than the 10 years of tax abatements! In fact, 10 years will go by quickly and soon we will all see the benefits of granting incentives to the company. I was born and raised in Zionsville, and like many people it saddens me to see big box retailers or corporations outline our perimeter. But these are hard economic times, so this is a chance for us to engage in thoughtful discussions about what is really best for our future as a town. I’ll see you all at town hall at 6 p.m. on March 3, when the town council will continue the abatement discussion during a public hearing.

 

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