Sunday, July 22, 2007

Indy's Poor Hit Hardest By Property Tax Increase

A combination of Star writers put together a front-page, eye-opening story in today's edition explaining how Indianapolis' unprecedented property tax increases hit the city's poor the hardest. They write:

Property owners in Marion County's poorest neighborhoods faced the largest percentage increases in assessed values and tax bills before a storm of public outrage compelled the governor last week to order a recalculation.

An analysis by The Indianapolis Star found that four of the five neighborhoods that would have been hardest hit are predominantly black, and the median household income in all five is well below the county median of $40,421.

The analysis also found:

• Three of the hardest-hit areas were in Washington Township, two in Center Township. Taxes on single-family homes in those areas jumped an average of 100
percent or more, compared with a countywide average of 23.6 percent.

• Only 13 percent of the county's neighborhoods have a median household income of less than $25,000, but 30 percent of the highest property tax increases and 40 percent of the highest assessment increases were in those neighborhoods.

• Seven of the 10 wealthiest neighborhoods had the lowest percentage increases.

Experts say there are many reasons for these findings, and some are doubtful whether the reassessment Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered last week will significantly lower tax bills if assessors use the same processes and data.

This revelation is absolutely stunning. Democrats have been in charge of the city for 8 years and now control every single county-wide office, except for the prosecutor's office. We are told the Democratic Party does more for the poor and minorities, but their own fiscal policies are putting at risk the city's most vulnerable residents. I guess it should really come as no surprise. Time and time again Mayor Peterson and his Democratic-controlled council have placed the interests of wealthy business owners over average residents.

Larry DoBoer offered three reasons why property taxes hit the poor the hardest: an Indianapolis Public Schools bond issue, which drove up bills; the elimination of the business inventory tax; and errors that showed business property values essentially frozen for several years while residential property values increased. "DeBoer said that poor people tend to live near commercial districts, so wiping out the business inventory tax had a greater impact on those areas." You can't blame Peterson and council Democrats for the IPS bond issue, but you can certainly blame them for failure to deal with the loss of the business inventory tax and ensuring propery was properly assessed. They control most township assessor offices and the county assessor's office. And they turned down a suggestion from the state that a COIT increase be implemented to offset the loss of the business inventory tax. I would note that the increase attributable to these causes, according to the Star's analysis, was the least in Franklin Township, one of the few townships still run by Republicans in Marion County. Democratic-run Center Township and Washington Township were hit the hardest.

At least one Democrat seems to understand what a big part of the problem is in Center Township. "[Marion Co. Auditor Billie Breaux said one factor that contributes to this is the higher number of tax abatements in Center Township, in which properties are assigned reduced taxes in exchange for contributing to economic development." "We paid so much attention to the fact that those in the richest areas had high increases that we failed to take a look at those whose bills, while not as high (in the dollar amount), but the percentage and the heartache was much greater," Breaux said. "And the ability to pay is much less."

It seems to me that Indianapolis' poor and minorities should be abandoning the Democratic Party in droves this year. The fiscal policies of the Democrats in control could not be more devastating on these folks. The Star story doesn't point this out, but many of these folks are living in rented homes. The landlords, who often have little invested in these low-income homes, simply walk away and abandon the homes if they can't pay the property taxes or the mortgage. Unsuspecting renters often continue paying their rent every month, only to get a notice from the sheriff ordering them out of their house. We're going to see a lot more homeless and abandoned homes in the near future if city and state leaders don't take quick action to address this problem.


Wilson46201 said...

Don't expect a vast swing to the GOP in Indianapolis this year by the African-American community. I spent yesterday afternoon at Black Expo - I was amused at the Indianapolis GOP booth staffed by only white folk with a single Ballard yardsign and a small pile of Ballard bumperstickers. No literature. No decorations. No photos. No buttons.


Anonymous said...

Yo, Wilson, this feed is about Democrats' TAX & SPEND, not some anonymous, riotous thugfest downtown. If you want to go there, who got shot last night? How many arrested?

We need a Boston Tea Party type of voter turn out at the polls to reverse the TAX & SPEND action & philosophy of the Democrats. Let's tell the Democrats that they just don't get it. We work for our money & do not want them taking it from us to spend on their rich croneys, or give patronage jobs away.

Anonymous said...

Neither of the above posters got the point. Each retreated to all-too-familiar steroetypical responses. Sad.

I thought the Star piece was the single-best piece of journalism yet on this crisis. The 9-pt. reasons for tax increases was exactly right. All nine combiend to piss on the public.

The accompanying article was long, but informative. I was pleasantly surprised by the paper's depth of coverage. I dind't think they had it in them.

Tully's BS column, however, was just that. I give up on his lazy ass.

Anonymous said...

9:31 Very well put! If the voters do not reject the Evil Empire that is the 'tax & spend' Democrat Machine (Julia Carson, Bart Peterson, Carl Drummer, Tony Duncan, Lacy Johnson, Monroe Gray, Vern Brown, Kenneth Ackles, et al) then this city is doomed.

Anonymous said...

I read in here the other day, about a Boston Tea Party demonstration to be held on the canal in Broadripple on Central Ave 11:00am July 28. Is that still on? I haven't heard any more about it anywhere. No publicity means no turn out. My wife and I plan to attend, along with our signs, "bart lies" t-shirts, and plenty of enthusiasm.

Anonymous said...

Just so you don't get to ocarried away...

Teabags have a level of acidity in them, in large quantities, which could be harmful to the geese, ducks and aquatic life. Find another symbol of your outrage.

Like your vote.

Anonymous said...

Hehehe... Wilson said "Ballard."

As for the Canal rally, I think there's also a danger the ducks might choke on the string. Take 'em, just don't leave anything lying around for the ducks to eat (or else Bart might slap a consumption tax on them). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

RAlly info.


July 19, 2007

Indiana Tea Party, 11am, July 28, 2007 at the Broad Ripple Canal:


The graphic on the page says they will just DUNK symbolically tea bags filled with the tax bills.

Anonymous said...

Yes, don't expect the mass exodus because the Dems will PROMISE the world, which they will buy in to, and continue to keep them poor. Bart, the CCC and the democratic party has no plans on making a better life for the poor of this city, only protecting their cronies.

It is sad.

Anonymous said...

Don't expect a vast swing to the GOP in Indianapolis this year by the African-American community. I spent yesterday afternoon at Black Expo - I was amused at the Indianapolis GOP booth staffed by only white folk with a single Ballard yardsign and a small pile of Ballard bumperstickers. No literature. No decorations. No photos. No buttons.


Wilson, I don't get your point. Are you saying that the Afro-American community isn't interested in the ongoing financial mismanagement of their city by Peterson, Monroe et al?

And, what does the race of the volunteers at the Indianapolis GOP booth have to do with anything anyway?

Wilson46201 said...

The piss-poor booth of the local GOP simply demonstrated eloquently to the tens of thousands of Black Expo visitors the lack of respect Republicans have for the 24% of Indianapolis that's Black. The GOP chintzy display made no significant effort to reach out to voters - that half-assed table was a waste of the meager budget of the local Republicans. Needless to say, I'm rather pleased to see them fritter away opportunities...

The GOP has the reputation of being the Very White Party so that by not having African-Americans working the booth at a major African-American event just reinforces such stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, if the Democrats REALLY were about helping the poor people of this city, I would probably be one. But seeing that their only goal is to line thier own pockets, promise the poor that they will make it better and keep them poor, I have no desire to be part of that.

So go ahead, continue to be the petty little person who will judge people by the way they look rather than the beauties they possess.

I am sure you will call me names, but that is ok, I will continue to fight for a better life for those who want it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the impact of Tax increment financing (TIF) districts.

Anonymous said...

I say, "Just follow the money!" That will lead us to the people who are behind this, the people who benefited from it. I think they are not likely to be members of the Democratic Party, because it is the Republican Party that has a history of robbing from the poor to give to the rich. My bet is on the favorite, the GOP...