(La Porte County, IN) - A local official says he’s already decided to vote for a higher countywide income tax.
Money from a higher tax would go strictly toward salaries of emergency responders and other public safety needs.
La Porte County Councilman Mike Rosenbaum said there could very well be shortages in emergency responders without a good sized pay increase to keep them from going elsewhere for much higher pay and that cannot be allowed to happen.
He said emergency responders are in limited supply throughout the state and elsewhere so keeping them here is vital to meet public safety needs locally.
“There’s only so many of them and if other people are picking them off we don’t have them and if there’s only X amount of them that work in the state we’re not going to be pulling from out of state,” he said.
Rosenhaum said a higher tax would provide the income needed every year to make and keep wages competitive.
“So far no one else has come up with a permanent solution. This is a permanent solution. We need to fix this problem and we need to fix it now,” said.
La Porte County Emergency Medical Service lost more than a dozen workers last year and has struggled to find replacements fast enough to maintain adequate numbers.
Rosenbaum said five employees of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office have already left this year.
The county council could vote on the 0.5 percent increase in the income tax during its meeting at the end of March.
The La Porte City Council and Kingsford Heights Town Council are among the local governing bodies to support the proposed higher tax.