Supporters of eliminating Fort Wayne’s business personal property tax were in short supply at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
The council held a public hearing on the matter. Fourteen people spoke out. Only one of them supported the measure.
A business personal property tax is a tax on any equipment businesses use to operate. According to numbers released by the city, revenue lost with the elimination of this tax would cost school districts in Allen County $18 million collectively.
In theory, the elimination of this tax would help small business owners, but some of them don’t like the idea either.
“Of course what small business or business wouldn’t want to pay less in taxes just like individuals,” Noah Smith, a small business owner in Fort Wayne, said. “But I’ve not heard anything proposed on how to replace this tax to help keep the services and goods provided via the fire department, the police department, the schools and the parks and the like. Those are very important services, and they’re what sets our community apart.”
One person, a former legislator and former council member, supported the move.
“Let’s equal the playing field, get rid of business personal property tax abatement and have property taxes limited to real estate,” said Mitch Harper, who feels business personal property taxes are on the way out anyway.
However, his support was not enough to keep councilman Tom Freistroffer from being skeptical of the idea.
“I understand the concept,” Freistroffer said. “I’m a businessman myself, but I’m not quite sure if there’s a solid plan to make up for the moneys that are going to be lost by our schools, our libraries and our general funds.”
Freistroffer said the vote on the proposed tax cut has been postponed. He said he does not expect a vote for a couple of months.