FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Tuesday, April 12th carpenter local 232 held “Tax Fraud Days of Action.”
The event took aim at construction industry tax fraud, something the Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) estimates costs Indiana over 400 million dollars every year.
the IKORCC pointed out that much money could pay for a number of different things in the community. Like 8,741 state troopers, 7,937 K-12 teachers, or 783 small business loans.
Tom Case, a representative of IKORCC, said that although Fort Wayne is the second largest city in Indiana it’s construction wages are actually the lowest in the state. He says the wages are in their low state because of workers that are being paid cash or improperly.
Presentations at the event covered that construction tax fraud hurts more than just taxpayers. The workers, and contractors who play by the rules are hurt as well. Per IKORCC workers lose out on benefits and other contractors lose business, their bids aren’t as competitive as those who are exploiting cheap labor.
In what became a bit of a who’s who of politicians and influential community figures. Councilmembers Russ Yale, Geoff Paddock, and Thomas Didier all attended alongside Mayor Tom Henry, state senators Justin Busch and David Niezgodski. In addition Phil GiaQuinta, a minority house representative spoke as well.
Mayor Henry said the whole conversation really boiled down to trust, and took time to talk about a proposed solution to the issue. A new responsible bidding ordinance for Fort Wayne.
A responsible bidder ordinance helps ensure that cities hire responsible contractors. They serve to protect local governments by establishing criteria that contractors must meet to be eligible to work.
At one point multiple politicians from both sides of the aisle took to the podium and agreed that something had to be done, much to event organizer Kyle Gresham’s delight saying, “What you are seeing today is both parties coming together to tackle an issue that affects all of us. This is what our political system is supposed to look like.”
Tomorrow another event will be put on concerning tax fraud in Indianapolis, more information about the event, and more information about their movement can be found here.