Pulaski County Legislation May Lack State Support

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

Pulaski County Economic Development representatives 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. He would like to see a change in the law to allow that payment to be made from the CAGIT fund instead.

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. Specifically he would like 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. 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.

Rep. Doug Gutwein, R-Frnacesville, 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. Besides that, you can’t rob the fund and give it to somebody else. Connect to the economic development? I’d love to do that, but it’s against the law,” Gutwein said.

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.

Pulaski County Economic Development 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.