Income Tax Revenue Drop For Allen County On Course For Turnaround

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 22, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 5:39 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- A good news, bad news situation for Allen County government, as it relates to income tax revenues.

Revenues figure to be off in the short term, but there’s reason to believe help is on the way.

County Auditor Tera Klutz says her estimates for income tax revenues next year were conservative, but sadly the final figures are still down $1-million compared to the predictions.

More income tax returns were filed this year, but wages were down enough to make for a net loss in revenues.

It means county departments asking for an increase in their individual budgets may be out of luck.

Early this week, IPFW hosted a job fair, where 70 employers were looking to fill 3,000 openings, three times the number of jobs at the same event last year.

There was something else noteworthy at that 2013 job fair.

“Employers said that a lot of the folks didn't have the skills that they were looking for. But Monday was different," said Congressman Marlin Stutzman, who represents Fort Wayne and Indiana’s 3rd District on Capitol Hill.

Work One Northeast says unemployment is down and wages in this area are trending up.

So what gives with the county income tax revenue falloff?

Maybe this is the answer.

It takes two years from the time paychecks are earned, before tax returns are filed, and then the money flows into county government, meaning 2015's budget is built off the employment picture in 2013.

When you consider this lag in income, it suggests better times are ahead for local government.

" This is one of those things that takes a little bit more time to catch up, so barring anything, and we know that there's always things that can happen, but barring any unforeseen circumstances, we should start to see increases happening over the next couple three years," said Republican Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown.

The average income in Allen County since 2007 raised about $3,000 per year.

But with fewer people in the workforce compared to 2007, officials say there's still room for improvement.

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