Senator Kenley has a column in the Indianapolis Star about the property tax “circuit breaker” that places a 2-percent limit on the amount of property taxes that can be levied against the assessed value that mentions the Department of Local Government Finance report (pdf) on 2005 expenditures per capita. He seems largely dismissive of most of the common complaints he cites: inability to complete projects, inability to pay debts, and increasing bond rates. Lack of financing options, however, Senator Kenley has some sympathy for. But, he blames the House of Representatives for this. The Senate, he says, has pushed for legislation that would allow local governments more flexibility to impose a local option income tax in order to reduce the reliance on property taxes.
Of more immediate interest to me, however, was the report he cited on expenditures per capita. The range was really surprising to me. The median expenditure of a county per person was $929.24 and the average (presumably the mean) was $1,149.36. But expenditures ranged from $538.87 per person (Franklin County) to $3,213.97 per person (Warren County). Some of the bigger spenders were Decatur County ($2,691.13), Elkhart County ($2,432.38), Newton County ($2,617.16), Putnam County ($2,775.35), Rush County ($2,868.00), and Switzerland County ($2,673.21). Marion County wasn’t included in the county comparison due to the unique city-county government structure it has.