The state's new voter referendums, aimed at giving Hoosiers the power over whether to raise taxes for publicly funded projects, would be tossed out the window under a bill approved by the Indiana House on Wednesday.
School and other public construction projects no longer would be subject to the referendums -- approved last year as part of sweeping taxpayer relief legislation -- as long as the buildings meet certain energy-efficiency standards.
House Democrats pushed for House Bill 1730, saying they wanted to remove the hurdles posed by referendums so that local school districts and governments can more quickly spend federal stimulus dollars on "green" projects.
But the bill makes no mention of federal stimulus money and would apply only to projects funded by property taxes. The bill's author later said he was open to amending the legislation so that it applies only to projects that receive money from the federal stimulus.
The House passed the bill on a 52-48 party-line vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate.
This is precisely the reason we need those property tax caps made permanent in our state constitution. The property tax reform law is barely a year old and they're already undoing it. The reason Democrats want to undo the law is very simple. They are bought and paid for by the teachers' unions, which want to make it as easy as possible to raise property taxes for schools. Notice that all four of Marion County's newly-elected members of the House of Representatives, John Barnes, Cherrish Pryor, Mary Ann Sullivan and Ed DeLaney, voted to take away your right to vote at a referendum on these tax issues. Barnes and Sullivan received more special interest money from the teachers' unions than any other special interest group. DeLaney, too, received significant financial support from the teachers' union.
In last year's election, Marion County residents living in IPS listened to the arguments and approved a referendum that will allow the school district to borrow money and raise taxes to fund several hundred million dollars worth of capital projects. It's not like voters collectively are incapable of making rational decisions. If you're not upset by the House Democrats' action yesterday to deny you the right to vote and decide these issues, then don't complain the next time you get a property tax bill with which you are unhappy.