Citing the fact that 165,000 commuters cross county lines to work in Marion County, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said his 2019 State of the City address that the doughnut counties need to help pay for infrastructure improvements in Indianapolis.
Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak said regional leaders meet regularly through the Central Indiana Council of Elected Officials for six years.
“For the last year, one of our topics has been regionalism and how we can partner together for the collective good,” Haak said. “We met with the state legislature on introducing legislation that would enable us to work together for funding projects.
“Mayor Hogsett has never suggested his road funding plan to anybody,” Haak added. “That’s not to say that we’re against Indianapolis achieving more road funding, but not with existing taxes and taking away from our own needs.”
Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry said roads and infrastructure had been discussed several times in these meetings that happen once every other month. However, an increase in income taxes going to Marion County was never brought up.
“I don’t think using tax dollars from doughnut county communities to fix potholes in Indianapolis makes a lot of sense,” Gentry said. “I understand that maybe there are a lot of people who live in those doughnut counties that may work in Marion County, but we all pay income taxes to both where we work and where we live.”
Gentry said that this could be the start of a conversation about how Indianapolis gets the money it needs, but this idea isn’t the final solution.
Boone County Commission president Jeff Wolfe said this is different from the regional taxes for Lucas Oil Stadium because Boone County saw some return on that investment.
“This is strictly for infrastructure that is not going to bring actual revenue back into Boone County,” Wolfe said. “I don’t see how he gets it off the ground."
Wolfe said transportation funding has been hard to come by.
“I’m sure all the doughnut counties and doughnut mayors are going to come out against it,” Wolfe added. “I don’t think I could support it unless they can come back with how it’s going to help Boone County.”