Monday, July 09, 2007

Governor Daniels To The Rescue?

While local government leaders in Marion Co. continue to turn their backs on desparate homeowners stung by unacceptably high property tax increases, Gov. Mitch Daniels made an important announcement late today which provides some hope that someone in government gives a damn about the plight of homeowners. He has ordered an immediate probe to determine why homeowners property tax bills grew at least 20% more on average than business/commercial property. "Fundamental reform" is required and the increases are "unacceptable" Daniels said. There appears to be a chance equalizers, as authorized by state law, may be applied even after the first tax bills have already gone out to correct the errors, thereby shifting at least some of the unprecedented increases in homeowner tax bills to business. Daniels" statement reads:

"I have instructed (the Department of Local Government Finance) to probe the unexplained disparity between residential and commercial reassessment in many counties, taking follow-up action if warranted. The state will not approve pending budget orders until commercial and industrial real estate assessments have been further analyzed. DLGF also will notify localities that upcoming budgets that spend above the rate of inflation will be rejected until spending is under control. Pending and future bond issuances also will be held in problem counties."

"I am also exploring some ideas with legislative leaders about how a special session might provide immediate relief directly to property taxpayers who have been especially hard hit.

"Looking ahead, some costs now borne locally, such as the child welfare levy, can be shifted to state government, never forgetting that the money all comes from the same taxpayers. The bottom line is there can be no solution without greater control of local spending and borrowing."

"As governor, I will take every step I have authority to take to help Hoosier homeowners."

Daniels statement, according to a Star report, notes that the legislature already subsidizes local government spending to the tune of $2 billion annually, or a quarter of the amount raised by property taxes. Further, the legislature awarded a half-billion in additional property tax relief this year. Although a new state law gives local governments flexibility to use local income taxes to reduce property taxes, the law has not been utilized to date. Instead, Mayor Bart Peterson and the Democratic-controlled city-county council in Indianapolis/Marion County are insisting on raising the local income tax 65% to fuel even more spending without providing a dime's worth of property tax relief.


Wilson46201 said...

Who poked Your Man Mitch with a stick and woke him up under that desk he's been hiding under?

High property taxes? He's shocked! Positively shocked to find it in Indiana!

Anonymous said...

Rescue? More like Marie Antoinette
pretending to listen to the peasants.

Anonymous said...

Why should the state cover out-of-control school spending by local schools and government? Bond issues force regular tax increases year after year. Are we to have the same "crisis" every year by the same people who voted in the politicians who raised their taxes?

Mitch and the legislature should demand that those responsible accept blame for the problem before the state even looks at a solution to this local problem.

Unknown said...

eiIt's unfortunate that in these times the reality is that the taxpayers stick their head in the sand until they get the bill. They don't read the notices in the paper prior to bond issues being authorized, they dont' attend school board or library board meetings, they don't even vote anymore. But when they get the bill they bitch and moan and start pointing fingers. To whom do they point their fingers? At the same politicians to whom they bitched and moaned about wanting more services, air conditioned schools, smaller class sizes, smooth roads, unbroken sidewalks, affordable healthcare, keeping business taxes low to lure more business into the state to keep our people employed, more cops on the street, sewers that don't back up or dump shit into the rivers. There's an old saying that one should be careful what one asks for - because they just might get it. And in fact, they have gotten what they've asked for. The first person the taxpayer should point his or her finger is not at the politicians - but at themselves. And, things won't change until people start paying attention, getting educated and getting involved.

Anonymous said...

Abner is 1000% correct. But even when citizens attend these meetings, sometimes they get screwed.

Case in point: Washington Twp. The school there threatened a huge bond issue a couple years ago. State law allows remonstratros to gather petition signatures to stop the bond issue or force a referendum. TheHschool district settled with them to avoid an almost-certain loss, at capped the bond issue lower than they wanted to, and the bond went through.

The first project in that bond was a pool. It has a pre-argeed price. The remonstrators had reluctantly agreed to get their complete point across.

That pool came in 14-15% over budget. What did the school do? Allowed pool moms to flood the board room last month, and they approved the inflated budget anyway.

It's only a couple million, but it busted the spirit, if not the letter of the agreement.

And the school board didn't bat an eye. They even acted indignant that anyone would question their decision.

Arrongance. Raw stupidity.