Lake County Would Never See One Dime from RDA Food and Beverage Tax

Despite the misleading rhetoric, it is imperative that residents and elected officials understand that the proposed Food and Beverage Tax will go directly to the RDA

July 24, 2018-Recently it was suggested that Lake County residents could benefit from a proposed food and beverage tax because the tax would raise more money than a proposed convention center would cost. Despite the narrative being pushed by proponents, Indiana Law makes clear that 100% of the tax would go to the unelected Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority(RDA). Thus, the Lake County Council would vote to impose the tax but would never see a dime of the money. The graphic above is an actual screenshot of the Indiana Code section that intercepts the food and beverage tax and provides 100% of the income to the unelected Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. The RDA would then have an estimated $10M per year-a number that would likely rise every year as income and prices rise and there is nothing which in the statute which would keep them from spending the money in Porter, LaPorte or St. Joseph Counties.

South Lake County Would be Hit Hardest

The RDA has funded virtually no projects south of Ridge Road. The majority of RDA projects have focused on the areas of Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. This is in large part due to the charter of the RDA which requires a focus on lakefront projects and transportation projects and the funding mechanism which intercepts casino taxes from those communities. While it is possible that intercepting local taxes from Dyer and Lowell would result in more funding for projects in those communities, there are no representatives of those communities on the unelected Board and no provision for those communities to provide input into project decisions.


  1. Take…take…take – and cut all the “giving programs” – reduce wages – leave people unable to afford housing…and still think that the average Joe will be blinded by your new dog and pony show? Really? This is just one more way for those in power to take what little we have left. No thanks!

  2. I always wonder where the casino money goes in East Chicago and Gary? mayor Tom seems to have a handle on the funds from Horseshoe Casino for better or for worse, depending on your view. East Chicago? It seems that whatever monies they receive from Ameristar goes to felonious affairs. Gary’s casino goes somewhere but unsure where that is. I look at downtown Joliet, Illinois who has done some things with their tax profits from the casinos. I look at Crown Point who has upgraded projects for residents–especially if they are sport minded. Then I look at Merrillville and what I am seeing, Dunes Highway/Melton Road failure. I recall the days of when Tri-City Shopping Plaza anchored the western entrance of Gary, while Dunes Plaza or whatever it was called anchored the east end of the highway.
    The Village Shopping Center and the businesses along Broadway attracted shoppers and residential development to the south end of the city.
    Southlake Mall and other development in the US30-I-65 corridor started the downward trend of Gary. Now that area due to changes in shopping patterns is starting to show its’ age.
    So along comes the RDA and other governmental bodies with the proposal to build a convention center near US30 and I-65 with tax monies from Lake County citizens?
    What is to keep them from building it in Michigan City or La Porte?
    Too far from Chicago–there’s that BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
    We can spend more money and upgrade The South Shore Line to HIGH SPEED RAIL!
    No Sir, we need to stop this tax and spend attitude that seems to have permeated the Region!!

    • I’m not sure if you have been to East Chicago lately , but you can clearly see where the money is going . There are projects happening all over the city . You literally can’t drive a few blocks without seeing some sort of construction . From streets to buildings to the lake front . As far as your comment about Gary I don’t think much is going on from the casino money . Hammond ? Pretty much being rebuilt by RDA funds and federal/ hud funds for blighted properties . The casino money is paying for McDermott’s pet projects and Walmart land . Yet he raises taxes to build a school .

      • McDermott DIDN’T raise the taxes for the schools – the citizens of Hammond VOTED to increase the tax for sake of the schools – although I don’t think any of them understood how much that might come to. We’ve yet to see if McDermott’s plans for an athletic center is a bad idea – looks like it could be a good draw and a nice new attraction for the citizens. After all, he’s feeling pretty bad about having to close the swimming pools – they were draining big bucks to maintain while those using the pools were down to a trickle. The athletic center may prove to be a great alternative – a safe place to do one’s morning walk on a winter’s day, etc.?

        • You are right the citizens did vote to increase taxes . Do you think the citizens would vote to not replace one of the worst schools in Hammond ? Why didn’t he ask the citizens to vote on the sports plex funding ? Or vote for the PRIVATE school funding in down town ? Or the millions he spent to develop Walmart’s land ? Or the money he spent to develop the land for the train company off of Summer st.? Did the citizens vote for the city to own Carson’s building ? Or those buildings in downtown ? The list goes on and on . Of course US Hammond residents want a new Hammond High School . The mayor should have been able to pay for it without raising taxes . He used HUD money to remodel the Chevy dealership. Was there no federal funds available to help build a new school ? A safe place to do ones walks in the winter would be the gym inside the civic center he spent over a million dollars to remodel without asking residents . Or the YMCA where the city donated over 1 million dollars without asking anyone . The pools you speak of ? A family pass was hundreds of dollars a month . I could buy me and my kids season passes to Six Flags water park for the same price and get a much better return on my investment.

      • I was in East Chicago about a month ago. I didn’t see much but maybe I was not in the right neighborhood. I was near St.Catherine’s Hospital.
        I did see the roundabout on Cesar Chavez(Columbus Drive) which I think is stupid. See my view on roundabout come from driving a truck for 30 plus years all over the country. I look at roundabouts as a part of THE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA! The other thing about East Chicago is the lack of the Cline Avenue Bridge(yes I know it is coming back but as a toll road instead of a free road and at 1/3rd the size it was) and also the constant re-hiring of convicted felons for city jobs. I suppose they have to work also. However, it looks a bit sneaky to me!

        • Literally a block away from the hospital a street is being redone . Three blocks down another one is being done. New drain pipes and all . Right across from the hospital McDonalds just got redone. The bridge entering the harbor is being redone . The sub division 1 minute from the hospital has filled up almost completely . Main st is being Re done and redeveloped after new housing has opened . CVS am has opened in the harbor off of main st . All things I’m naming are literally seconds/minutes from the hospital . You can a see a street being redone from the hospital entrance . And yes, the round about is dumb . BTW one of the people leading all this redevelopment for EC was fired from Hammond and paid over a million dollars to keep McDermotts racists tapes a secret . Lol

  3. We don’t need a convention center – Look at Illinois – convention center in Schaumburg is a white elephant. way under used. Now it has to be bailed out by Illinois Taxpayers. What events would be held in the lake county convention center?

  4. Good comments;I especially like Joe Hammond’s…WE DON’T NEED NO convention center,or the RDA for that matter. All they do is keep finding ways to spend more of OUR money,and add new taxes to pay for their pet projects. Just wait…we’ll be paying the same amount in property taxes as CROOK COUNTY.

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