Most of us know that the burden of having TIF'd real estate is not distributed evenly. I was given a heads up last week, that there is information available on the State's Gateway website related to assessed values. When I saw that information, I found it also had important data about the distribution of taxable property between the various taxing districts in Marion County.
From this information I was able to calculate the amount of real estate assessed value, personal property AV, and more, as a percent of the total for each Township.
Before I pull you too far into the weeds, let's back up a tiny bit and define some terms.
Property taxes are based on the value of the real estate and the value of personal property owned by businesses - from conveyor belts to manufacturing equipment. Business personal property is in the crosshairs of Governor Pence and the Indiana Manufacturer's Association for eventual elimination.
The data available on the State's Gateway website go into a fair amount of detail. It also notes how much of the assessed value of a TIF is being 'passed through' in a given year. This decision is made each year by Mayor Ballard/Vaughn, through the actual vote of the Metropolitan Development Commission, which he controls. Each TIF district is examined for how much tax money the Mayor wants to keep, and he 'generously' sends some back to the other taxing units. But, next year he could simply decide to keep all that value in his slush funds. It is optional.
I looked at the percentage of assessed value of real estate in each Township caught in a TIF - both before and after the pass through. (for those who don't mind the weeds - these numbers are the net AVs after deductions, like the homestead deduction, are subtracted) The number before the pass through is the truer value of the amount of real estate actually ensnared by the TIF. The number after the pass through is the truer value of the tax base for the TIF in a given year. I also pulled out the percentage of assessed value of the personal property in each Township caught in a TIF district. Because Beech Grove, the City of Lawrence, and Speedway have all created their own TIFs, I also aggregated the number for each of these entities. But, please be aware, that the Township data contains these three city/town data.
|Township or City/Town||% Net |
after pass through
|% Net Real Estate |
in TIF before pass through
|% Net Business Personal Property AV in TIF|
|Total Marion County|
|Lawrence - City|
Center Township has a frightening amount of real estate trapped in TIFs, at 45%. To add to the tax burden, they also have the lion's share of personal property in TIFs, at 27%.
My community, Decatur Township, is hit the next hardest for real estate value in a TIF, at 25%. Luckily, for a while anyway, all the taxes from personal property are outside the TIF.
Wayne Township is hit next hardest with a combination of 10% real estate and 8% personal property value in a TIF.
Washington, Lawrence, and Warren Townships are each home to a 'dormant' TIF district, whose entire AV is passed through each year. As noted above, that can change with the whim of the Mayor. The City of Lawrence's TIF districts account for all of the active TIFs inside Lawrence Township.
Pike Township has one TIF district - the Dow Elanco TIF. This was a dormant TIF just a couple of years ago, but was reactivated recently. The majority of the value is passed through at the discretion of the Mayor.
The Town of Speedway has evidently gone a slightly different route, capturing far more value from business personal property than real estate inside its TIFs.
Taking the County as a whole, we are up to 13% of our real estate tax base inside a TIF. This year some of it was passed through to help pay for basic services, reducing the actual TIF tax base to 10%. But, as I keep saying, next year the Mayor could decide to keep it all for his special friends.
These numbers probably illuminate the reason Decaturites hate TIFs. It is a puzzlement, though, why Center Township residents haven't stormed City Hall with torches and pitchforks.