Tax increase forum | One table says: Spend climate action money directly to benefit low-income people

“Lift the people up. Once you’ve got a sustainable model that is working for the people at the bottom, then you can have my 50 cents.”

That’s what Patrick Cortese, an educational publisher, told a Bloomington city official last Thursday night. The occasion was a community meeting about taxes held at The Mill, a downtown co-working space.

Cortese was talking about the idea of increasing the county’s local income tax to pay for climate action initiatives.

The 50-cent figure comes from the amount of the proposed tax increase, which would raise the existing tax by .05 points. That works out to 50 cents for every $100 dollars earned by a wage earner in Monroe County. Continue reading “Tax increase forum | One table says: Spend climate action money directly to benefit low-income people”

Bloomington’s mayor pitches half percent countywide income tax increase to generate $8M annually for climate action

A proposal to increase the local income tax (LIT) that’s collected in Monroe County by a half percent came from Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, after swearing-in ceremonies for the city’s 11 elected official were complete on New Year’s Day.

The half percent increase would bring the total income tax levy to 1.845 percent from the current total of 1.345 percent. It’s estimated to generate about $8 million for allocation by Bloomington’s city government and another $8 million for Monroe County government officials.

Hamilton wants the tax to be enacted by the local income tax council (LITC) sometime in the next six months. It’s not not yet clear what, if any, deadlines might need to be hit to ensure that new LIT revenue would appear in local coffers as soon as possible. Continue reading “Bloomington’s mayor pitches half percent countywide income tax increase to generate $8M annually for climate action”

First reading of Bloomington 2020 budget: “The two issues are police and climate change.”

At a special meeting held on Wednesday night, the Bloomington city council got a formal first reading of the half dozen ordinances that make up the 2020 budget, proposed by Mayor John Hamilton’s administration.

At their committee-of-the whole meeting, which followed on the heels of the special meeting, the council took a series of non-binding straw votes on the ordinances.

The outcome of those straw votes formed a record of their discontent.

They’re disappointed that the city and the police union have not yet reached an agreement after more than 18 months of negotiation, and they’re frustrated by the sheer volume of conflicting information about staffing levels, morale, recruitment and retention that they’ve heard from the police union and administration.

They’re also disappointed that the mayor declined to add a top-level position to manage the city’s response to climate change.

The areas of disappointment will not have surprised the administration or the watching public. Councilmembers had voiced many of the same concerns during a series of departmental budget hearings held over four days in August. Continue reading “First reading of Bloomington 2020 budget: “The two issues are police and climate change.””

Photos: #ClimateStrike Dunn Meadow, Bloomington, Indiana

A few hundred people piled into Dunn Meadow on the campus of Indiana University on Friday just before noon to join in a global action that’s been organized under the banner of  “climate strike.”  NBC News put the number of people worldwide who joined demonstrations in the “millions.” Here’s some photos from Dunn Meadow today.

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