New taxes for Evansville workers, new raises for Evansville employees

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People living in Evansville and Vanderburgh County will have a higher tax bill next year, thanks to City Council pushing for better police and fire protection. You can say goodbye to an extra $8 a month.

The problem has made headlines for years; public safety in the city and county isn’t where local leaders want it to be. The solution, they’ve found, comes out of your wallet.

In 2017, public safety accounts for more than 20 percent of Evansville’s $337 million budget. It’s one of the biggest expenditures the city makes every year. Considering 2018, City Council is trying something new.

It’s a hard truth for some and a harsh reality for others.

“We’re afraid to raise taxes,” says Republican councilman Dan McGinn, “we might lose some votes, even though it’s the right thing to do.”

The 0.2 percent income tax hike passed Monday night, but fellow Republican councilman Justin Elpers wasn’t on board. “We’re not giving the public a chance to adjust to all that,” he says, citing other major taxes and fees from the water and sewer and Vectren.

For somebody making a $40,000 salary, the tax increase would cost them about $80 dollars more per year. The tax will generate about $8 million and will help police, fire, Sheriff’s deputies, dispatch, and more.

Kay McAtee understands the importance of the tax. “Your house is on fire, you need the fireman to come quickly,” she says.

But just after passing the tax hike came the hardest pill to swallow for many in the audience. City Council voted to raise salaries for city workers – including themselves.

“How you raise your own salary but then tax all the tax payers?” asks Gary Meriweather, “it’s not fair.”

McGinn says it’s to keep the position competitive and encourage people to run for office in the future. He plans to donate his 1 percent raise to charity.

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