Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

January 28, 2014

A story Hoosier boosters like to tell

(Continued)

Richardson just wants it to go. “When I buy equipment, like the bottling unit that costs $75,000, I pay the sales tax on it,” he said. “But then, every year after, I have to pay taxes on it again. Everything I’ve got is taxed – the equipment, the mixers, the tables. Even my chairs.”

Last year, Richardson paid about $5,000 in business personal property taxes. It seems like a small contribution, given that the tax’s total collections raised more than $2 million for the city of Anderson, another $1 million for Anderson schools, and more than $14 million for all the government units in Madison County.

For Richardson, the amount isn’t negligible. “I’m a small shop. For me, that’s a big hit. I’m already paying a lot of other taxes.” That includes investing significant dollars, he said, to comply with federal environmental rules that cover his kind of business.

Richardson is sympathetic to the concerns of local leaders worried about losing revenue. Federal and state tax revenue, after all, helped build the Flagship center, along with money from the sale of some General Motors property after the automaker fled the city.

But he dreams about what he can do with that $5,000. It’s not nearly enough to hire another employee. It is enough, he said, to train some current employees or boost benefits for the sales staff.

“People who don’t own a business just don’t understand how capital works. If I don’t pay that tax, I’m not just going to stick the money in pocket or go out buy a boat,” he said. “I’m going to use it to grow the business.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden

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