Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Christian Right Lawyer Files Taxpayer Lawsuit In Marion County

An unsuccessful senatorial candidate from 1996 and a board member of the American Family Association of Indiana, John Price, has filed a lawsuit in Marion County on behalf of several homeowners challenging the disparity in assessments between homeowners and commercial/business property in Marion County. The Star reports that Superior Court Judge John Hanley immediately granted a request for transfer to another court because of the conflict of interest with the county being a defendant. Attorney Price is requesting the suit be heard as a class action suit on behalf of all taxpayers.

Some in the legal community have already questioned the validity of the suit, claiming property tax appeals must work their way through the normal administrative channels and then on to the Indiana Tax Court and not begin in a local court of general jurisdiction. As I observed previously, statutory authority exists for either the DLGF at the state level or the Marion County Assessor at the county level to apply equalizers locally to correct disparities in assessments. Governor Daniels hinted in his statement late yesterday that the DLGF may seek to correct the disparity issue in problem counties through this mechanism.

John Price is reported to be filing the case on behalf of a newly-formed group, Stop Taxing Our Property, Inc. Price ran for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1998. He lost out to former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, who later lost in the general election to Evan Bayh (D). Price gained local media attention a couple of years ago when he filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Indianapolis Star on behalf of two former editorial writers for the newspaper. Price has been affiliated as a board member and founding member of the AFA of Indiana's political action committee. Another religious right organization headed by Eric Miller, Advance America, has made an initiative to enact a constitutional amendment to repeal the property tax as a major priority--just behind enactment of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

It is very important to follow the religious right's movements on this issue and how it plays into the 2008 gubernatorial election. Just recently, Eric Miller and the AFA's Micah Clark began openly criticizing Gov. Daniels for his de-emphasis on their favorite social wedge issues, like gay marriage and abortion. Miller, for his part, never disbanded his campaign committee following his loss to Daniels in 2004 for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that the religious right intends to use the property tax revolt as a launching pad for a candidate like Miller next year to challenge Daniels. That may place added pressure on Gov. Daniels to call a special session in hopes of containing the issue this year before it becomes an issue in his own re-election bid.


Anonymous said...

Get your facts accurate. There was
no Senator slot up in 96. Bayh won Senator in 98.

Anonymous said...

" Price gained local media attention a couple of years ago when he filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Indianapolis Star on behalf of two former editorial writers for the newspaper"

What was the substance of said lawsuit (just curious)? It doesn't ring a bell with me.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Lance, there's a link within the post you can click on to learn more about that lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Duh - sorry....

Anonymous said...


As socialism slowly over throws the United State more and more enemies will be among us. ( see Eastern European history )

They will use our constitution against us.

They will complain and battle against our efforts at time of war.

They will divide our nation into groups to be controlled.

They will destroy the morals of our young.

They will buy our freedoms through taxation.

Taxation will be the main gage of their success in our over throw.

Join Morgancountytaxpayer.org