Rachel Blakeman, writing in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has a column entitled “Lower taxes as population driver: myth versus reality.”
Indiana is 20 years into its low-tax experiment as a driver of growth and prosperity. So this county property tax summary provides a nice table to compare taxes to population growth, especially since Indiana’s property taxes are based on market values.
If the notion that low taxes create growth holds true, the counties with the lowest taxes should see the greatest growth, right? Wrong.
Of the twenty-four counties with the highest tax bills, only two lost population. The twelve counties with the lowest tax bills all lost people. To the extent people are voting with their feet, they’re going to higher taxed areas. Quality of life issues are more likely to determine where people want to live.
There are surely diminishing returns, but by and large, a community should be willing to invest in itself to improve its schools, roads, trails, arts, parks, museums, and in all of the other stuff that make life worth living.