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.