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City Council considers eliminating business personal property tax

Fort Wayne's city council is considering getting rid of the business personal property tax.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 10:46 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Fort Wayne's city council is considering getting rid of the business personal property tax.

That's the tax on new equipment businesses might buy such as car lifts and kitchen supplies.

However many agencies, including the Fort Wayne - Allen County Airport Authority, said they'll lose money if council gets rid of the tax.

"We have to maintain our competitiveness," said Robin Strasser, airport authority director of administration and finance.

Strasser said the airport could loose 13 percent, or $880,000, of its tax revenue if the business personal property tax goes away.

"We have to get that revenue from somewhere, which probably means more fees for the airlines in the rates and charges," she said.

That could mean higher ticket prices to fly from FWA, or even airlines moving out.

"Airports all across the country are competing for airlines and their routes," Strasser said.

Councilman Jason Arp, who authored the proposal, said local governments won't loose much many because many companies are already getting waivers.

"We would be changing the way we do our tax policy as opposed to having businesses to us individually and grant them tax abatements," Arp said.

Arp tried a similar ordinance a couple years ago, but it failed.

He said now's the time to try again to help small businesses.

"If you own a garage, and you want to put in a new lift or you want to put in a new compressor, you're not going to come to council and go through all that expense for a tax abatement," he said.

County's have had this option for a few years, but Arp told FOX 55 no one has gone this route.

"It would give us a great advantage. It would make Fort Wayne and Allen County the number one environment in the state," Arp said.

If city council approves eliminated the business personal property tax, it will be county wide.

City council has authority over county taxes since more than 70 percent of the people in the county live in city limits.

There will be a public hearing Tuesday during the city council meeting at 5:30 p.m.

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