Declining Population Could Cost Pulaski County Millions in Lost Income Tax Revenue

Pulaski County stands to lose several million dollars in income tax revenues over the coming decades, due to declining population. That’s according to Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer. He presented some rough estimates to the county council last week. “For instance, in 2045, revenue’s going to be $2.9 million less than it could be, if population just stayed where it is right now,” he said. “2040, $2.6 million. So you can see that’s $10 million just over those select years.”

Origer arrived at those figures by taking the U.S. Census Bureau’s projections, and then adjusting them downward, based on how many people the county has already lost. “It’s just a grim picture to keep in mind, as we’re trying to figure out the best balance of funding mechanisms and spending for the county government to do the best job of providing services for residents,” he said.

The issue was brought to the forefront in September, after an ongoing decline in income tax revenues led to a sharp drop in local communities’ share of the county’s LIT Levy Freeze tax. One of the most visible impacts has been the Town of Winamac’s decision to pull its support of the town’s swimming pool rebuilding project, due to funding uncertainty in the town’s Recreation budget.

The Pulaski County Council is thinking about working with an accounting firm to explore possible ways to deal with the declining revenues. Meanwhile, the Community Development Commission has been working to tackle the root cause of the issue. For example, the CDC has been promoting Pulaski County as a tourist destination, in order to expose new people to the area and possibly slow the population decline.