- Enact Governor Daniels plan to make the property tax rebate a property tax credit
- Call on Governor Daniels and DLGF to order a reassessment of Marion County property taxes
- Move the due date for this month’s property tax bill two months or until the reassessment is completed
- Place a moratorium on tax sales of homes subsequent to 2007 property tax bills
- Cut all local non-public safety spending by 10%
- Place a freeze on all capital projects, pay raises, and non-public safety hiring
- Sell of all unnecessary Government owned property in Marion County
- Combine the various police pension funds in Marion County, eliminating the need for the income tax hike
- Convene a special session of the legislature to enact long-term property tax reform
- Utilize the tools the Legislature gave local governments to offset the need for higher property taxes
Gov. Daniels' announcement earlier today that he was ordering a reassessment in Marion County, and that taxpayers need only pay what they paid in 2006 until the reassessment is done, seems to take care of the first four points of the GOP plan. I particularly like the idea of selling off unnecessary government-owned property. Let's eliminate Center Township Government while were at it, sell of the buildings which are worth about $12 million and take the $11 million sitting in the bank and put it all towards the unfunded pensions. The GOP's plan doesn't address the consolidation issue; I think it should. Lawrence Township Trustee Mike Hobbs tells me there is movement again on consolidating the Lawrence Fire Department into IFD. He also is not opposed to eliminating his own Trustee's job while they're at it and consolidating those functions as well.
I also feel compelled to address a nasty rumor floated by Bil Browning at The Bilerico Project today, suggesting that Republican lawmakers would block any attempt to address the property tax problem unless SJR-7, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and other rights for unmarried couples, is put back on the table for a vote. Browning writes today:
From what I'm hearing, the Republicans are still angry that SJR-7, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, failed on a tie vote in the House earlier this year. Before they're willing to address property tax reform, they want the amendment back on the table and passed in the same special session. No amendment - no tax relief. And since Republican Governor Mitch Daniels (or "The Blade" as BushCo called him when he worked on their team) is to blame for the dramatic increases in taxes, is it no wonder that the Republicans are desperate for a scapegoat?
I don't doubt that someone Browning considers credible passed along this rumor to him. And given House GOP Leader Brian Bosma's obsession with the issue, it could be an easy rumor to believe. It just may not be true though. I contacted Rep. Elrod about the rumor. He is the only Republican member of the House who openly opposes SJR-7. "There is no truth to that rumor whatsoever," Elrod said. The gay marriage rumor seems to be part of a pattern which has emerged on the part of Democrats in recent weeks to discredit people who are speaking out against the property tax mess. I will give you that it was a complete waste of the legislature's time to devote so much attention to the gay marriage amendment this past session, but that's not the reason real property tax reform didn't happen this past session or any other session over the past several years for that matter.
A couple of weeks ago a lady in Meridian-Kessler was skewered by local Democratic operatives for complaining about her rising property taxes to a local television station. On Monday night, an upset property owner is thrown out of the city-county council committee hearing for articulating his frustration with the mayor and council better than anyone else I've heard from lately. Adding further insult to injury, some in the blogosphere have resorted to labeling him a liar based upon incomplete or inaccurate information. Unfortunately, Jen Wagner of TDW, who I respect deeply, got caught up in the frenzy to discredit this poor guy. She's also running with the gay marriage amendment rumor. I have many gay friends who are as angry as the next guy about their property tax bills. They are prepared to vote Mayor Peterson and the Democrats out of office. I believe someone may have simply made up the rumor and passed it along to Browning in an effort to prevent members of the GLBT community from supporting a GOP candidate for mayor or council in Indianapolis this year. If it turns out I'm wrong, I'll be the first to report it and complain as loudly as Bil Browning is complaining. But as critical as I've been of Bosma, I find it hard to believe that he would be so stupid as to condition action on property taxes to a vote on the gay marriage amendment.