Friday, January 18, 2008

Daniels' Tax Plan Advances In Democratic House

In an unusual move, the House Ways & Means Committee moved Gov. Mitch Daniels' property tax relief plan forward without making any changes. "We think the public wants property tax reform," [State Rep. Bill] Crawford said, "and we want to keep it moving as expeditiously as possible." Crawford told the Star's Bill Ruthhart he thought any proposed changes should be discussed by the full House. State Rep. Jeff Espich says that at least 40 of the House Republicans will vote for the plan, while he counts as many as half the Democrats in support of it.

After reading Sen. Luke Kenley's comments in Ruthhart's story, I think I know what's going on here. He expressed concern that Gov. Daniels' plan advanced without any changes. "That would be a bad sign. I think it would show some attitude about the bill that may indicate an unwillingness to deal with the issue at this time," Kenley said. "We need for the process to take place in order for it to be fully vetted in all corners of the Statehouse." The Democrats sense the Senate Republicans aren't satisfied with the plan as written so they'll let the Governor fight it out with members of his own party. The Star provides this basic summary of the Daniels plan:

  • Cap homeowners' property tax bill at 1 percent of their home's assessed value, beginning in 2009. Would cap rental properties at 2 percent and businesses at 3 percent.Amend those property tax caps into the state constitution.
  • Raise the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, generating nearly $1 billion in 2009.
  • Eliminate all township assessors and make county assessors appointed instead of elected.
  • Subject all major local construction projects to referendums.
  • Limit local spending growth to a county's average personal income growth over six years.
  • Shift to the state the remaining 15 percent of school operating costs, K-12 transportation costs and child welfare services.
  • In exchange for taking the added school and welfare costs, the state would end about $2 billion in state property tax subsidies to counties.


Anonymous said...

How dare those devious, unloyal Democrats! The nerve to actually agree with the Governor's plan.

Anonymous said...

A two-way , potential three-way, game of political chicken is exactly what is going on here.

They may be short on substantive ideas, but in terms of the political chess I'd never sell Bill Crawford and Pat Bauer short. Let the R's fight it out.

Anonymous said...

Political chess it is, and the initial House D move was damned near a checkmate.

These two House leaders, Crawford and Bauer, socked it to their own governor more than once when Ds controlled things.

They made it clear then, and are reinforcing now, that the party controlling things, the Rs, must get their house in order before any D input will be'd become grist for the political direct-mail mills this fall anyway. Bosma is ruthless about that kind of thing.

And Jeff Espich, for the record, isn't really a good counter. Never has been. Ask the late J. Roberts Daily, among others. That goofy-assed bowl haircut overweighed JE's counting brain or something. And he's been there since at least 1974--isn't it time for him to retire?

Why should the Ds give the Rs campaign ammo?

It's all going to a conference committee. Smaller cast, smaller stage, more control...members on both sides of the Hosue aisle want that...there'll be one up/down vote on tax reform, not a bunch of amendment fights that campaign opponents can skewer any way they want.