CAGIT Fund Proposal May Lack Statewide Support

Pulaski County Economic DevelopmentEfforts that could potentially benefit Pulaski County’s economic development may have a difficult time gaining support in Indianapolis.

Representatives of the Pulaski County Economic Development Organization say there is language in the Indiana Code restricting use of County Adjusted Gross Income Tax, or CAGIT funds. Those restrictions specify that monies generated through the tax are to be used only for the maintenance and operations of the Pulaski County Justice Center.

Economic Development Director Nathan Origer says the jail’s lease payment is about 260-thousand dollars annually, the balance of which comes out of the County Economic Development Income Tax, or CEDIT fund.

“What I should like to see the language changed to include is the annual lease payment that the county has to make on the bond for the construction of justice center,” says Origer.

That means, with a change, CAGIT funds would take over paying for the jail lease.

Origer says more money is being utilized out of the CEDIT fund for the jail lease than economic development, but the change would open those funds to other uses.

“If we had access to that, it would allow for us to put money toward the land acquisition, infrastructure development, or both for the west side, rail-served industrial park for which we had feasibility studies conducted last year,” says Origer.

Without land there’s very little to market to companies interested in locating to the area. Origer met with Pulaski County’s state representatives to request an expansion of the allowable uses for the CAGIT funds.

State Representative Doug Gutwein says if Pulaski County doesn’t need certain CAGIT funds exclusively for maintenance and operations, it’s advisable under the law to simply reduce the tax.

“You don’t rob the fund and give it to somebody else,” says Gutwein. “Besides that, you can’t rob the fund and give it to somebody else, not to the economic development, I’d love to do that, but you can’t do that, that’s against the law.”

Despite the request to make the change through legislation, Gutwein says he doesn’t believe there’s sufficient support to pass such a measure in Indianapolis.

The Pulaski County Economic Development Organization still plans to move forward with the industrial park project in the county’s western portion, perhaps with negotiations on a limited basis until additional monies can be appropriated.