Business tax repeal could mean transportation cuts for FWCS

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- We’re learning more about how a proposed business tax cut could affect Fort Wayne Community schools. The School Board President Mark GiaQuinta went before city council at a public hearing, Tuesday night.

“We’re not here to support any tax,” said GiaQuinta. “We’re here to protect the revenue that serves our parents.”

When Councilman Jason Arp introduced the proposed business property tax repeal, GiaQuinta said it would cost the district. He went before City Council to explain just how much.

FWCS gets millions of dollars through a business personal property tax. City Council is considering eliminating that tax, in an effort to make Fort Wayne more attractive for businesses and business owners. It’s a move that GiaQuinta said could cause the district to make another round of transportation cuts in a couple years.

“You’ll see the very same reaction in about two years because that’s the amount of time it will take us to lose the same amount of money that cost us to reduce transportation the first time,” he said.

According to GiaQuinta the district would lose around $2 to $3 million dollars over the next two years if this ordinance is passed. Over the next 9 or 10 years the district could lose $10 million.

“Cutting the revenue source without the ability to replace it is a very difficult thing to do,” he said. “Because it creates winners and losers. And the parents of Fort Wayne Community schools would be definite losers in this equation.”

Councilman Jason Arp said the schools shouldn’t lose any money. The money lost from the tax cut will be replaced with revenue from population growth.

“They would lose the money from this source but the overall growth of the city would out pace the loss,” he said.

Still, GiaQuinta said his main concern is meeting the needs of students and parents.

“We’ve been in meetings with parents, we’ve heard their concerns, we’ve heard their passion,” he said. “This is our effort to forestall any further cuts in the transportation of our children to school”

City Council will hold another public hearing September 20.

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