To voters, Charlie Brown and Christian Jorgensen will present themselves as polar opposites but they are both being pushed by the establishment for one reason, to raise taxes in Lake County.
January 29, 2018-Political season is heating up as the One Region establishment attempts to pack the County Council in order to pass a food and beverage tax and a host of other fees and taxes. Christian Jorgensen, who is working to bring a “road impact fee” to St. John residents in his newly adopted role as St. John Town Council President will challenge incumbent Lake County Council member Eldon Strong. Despite purporting to be a Republican, Jorgensen has never seen a tax or fee that he didn’t support. A challenge to a sitting Lake County Councilman would not seem newsworthy except that behind the scenes money man Dan Dumezich has apparently ordered his minions to support Jorgensen. Republican Party Chair Dan Dernulc, who has served on the Council with Strong for years, has reportedly even jumped ship at Dumezich’s command. Under Jorgensen, the plan will be to implement a county-wide food and beverge tax and hand the money over to Fesko’s failed Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). An increase in the Lake County Option Income Tax would follow shortly thereafter.
State Representative Charlie Brown will shore up support for the increased taxes for the failed RDA in North county. Brown, who is leaving Indianapolis after 15 or so failed terms as State Representative, is pushing for a $2 per pack increase in cigarette taxes as his last legislative stand. He also recently co-authored a bill that will allow construction debris to be dumped anywhere in the City of Gary by eliminating the 1/2 mile buffer between a landfill and a residential area which applies to the rest of the State. While serving as a State Representative Brown was sanctioned by the Ethics Committee for taking consulting fees from NIPSCO and not reporting them. NIPSCO is a prime sponsor of the One Region plan, and NIPSCO money is the glue that binds establishment Republicans and Democrats.
The One Region Times has already begun propping up the pair as the election season heats up. Recently, the Times ran a front page advertorial extolling the virtues of having a landfill within 600 feet of your backdoor. The One Region folks are touting the food and beverage tax as a way to build a convention center in Lake County. The failed RDA has teamed with One Region to launch a propaganda campaign to shore up support for the new tax-the latest in a line of taxes they have in store for us. The 1% tax would apply to restaurant purchases only, not food and beverages purchased at grocery stores. The South Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau (SSCVA) raises millions of dollars each year in hotel taxes and is virtually unaccountable for how the money is spent. Billionaire Dean White exercised absolute control over the SSCVA until his recent passing. If the convention center would raise money as the proponents promise, they could simply bond future revenues due the SSCVA to build the convention center but we know all too well how their rosy predictions of future revenue work out. Maybe they can get a convention center at the Gary Airport as soon as the 86,000 jobs are created.
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Copyright 2018 The Northwest Indiana Gazette