Column: Taxing commuters no easy proposition

Lately, at least in Indianapolis, nice people have been making noises about taxing neighbors who do not live in Marion County but work there.

In the case of a commuter tax, fairness and efficiency mean getting people who work in your county to pay part of the expenses for public services. These include police, fire, sewers, mosquito control, street lighting, pavement maintenance, snow removal, flood control, traffic regulation, emergency response and other aspects of civilization in the 21st century.

Approximately 300,000 workers pour into Marion County each day. At the same time, about 116,000 workers leave Marion County daily to work elsewhere. (These numbers, for 2011, come from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. If you prefer, you can use the Indiana Department of Revenue’s numbers of 184,000 coming into and 44,000 leaving Marion County in 2012. The differences are due to the widely varying sources of the two originating organizations.)

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