While Mayor Tom Henry is pleased the city will get $8.5 million in unexpected income tax revenues this year, he is surprised there hasn’t been more turmoil over the error that led to the newfound money.
State officials last week said that a programming error cost local units of government $206 million in local option income tax revenue in 2011 and early 2012. This comes months after the state found $320 million that had been collected but not tracked and about a year after state officials said they had overpaid local governments $610 million over the previous three years.
Errors of that proportion would have led to numerous firings in his office, Henry said, “and deservedly so.”
The recent error may have meant more money for local governments, but Henry said they also prompted numerous damaging decisions by local leaders last year. Fort Wayne may have been immune from massive layoffs, but Henry said leaders in other communities were forced to cut police and fire protection, turn off street lights and make other tough budget decisions.
Had this newfound money been available when it should have been, some of those decisions could have been averted, he said. Because many of these budget cuts were made in a municipal election year, Henry said some mayors and other officials lost their jobs because of the error.
“I feel bad for my colleagues,” he said.