Online petition opposes Lake tax
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent April 24, 2013 4:16PM
Updated: May 28, 2013 7:49PM
CROWN POINT — Opponents of the proposed 1.5 percent county option income tax say not enough is being done to educate residents — especially those in the northern part of the county — about the cost of the new tax.
Karin Mason and Ron Janowicz, both of Crown Point, have begun a door-to-door campaign in Hammond, East Chicago, Hobart and Whiting collecting signatures on a petition opposing the 1.5 percent tax and asking county officials to do the same.
They have taken their petition drive online as well through ipetitions.com, where individuals can download the petition to sign and mail in or they can sign the petition online.
“My main point is to target the north end. ... (They) are completely unaware this tax is even being brought up again as an issue,” Mason said.
She said efforts by Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, to rally at the Lake County Fairgrounds is important but will not be a good location to draw north county residents. She said officials should consider hosting a session at a location such as the Genesis Center in Gary.
Lake County Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, said she is working on an informational session in her district and is trying to coordinate with the Indiana Department of Revenue to provide an official who can accurately answer residents’ questions on how the tax will work and what it may cost.
“I want it to be more of an informational meeting, not a rally for or against the tax. That’s what I thought the council should have had before even voting on the first reading (of the tax ordinances),” Cid said.
Cid joined Republican Councilmen Eldon Strong and Dan Dernulc in voting against the tax. The measure will be on the May agenda for a second reading but Cid is not sure officials will call the matter for a final vote.
Mason said the tax has wide-ranging implications for residents and could affect people on a fixed income, such as Social Security or unemployment insurance. She fears a 1.5 percent income tax, if approved, will be a launching point for a tax that will eventually climb to 4 percent.
Janowicz blames state and Indianapolis officials for taking resources from Lake County and failing to reinvest in the area and said he is concerned state officials will try to take a portion of any income tax collected as well.
Mason and Janowicz plan to continue their efforts to raise awareness and encourage residents who share their views to download the petition and forward it to county officials.