Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Morgan County Leads The Way

When you think of forward-thinking places in Indiana, Morgan County isn't usually the first place which comes to mind. On the issue of property tax reform, however, Morgan County is leading the way just as the legislature intended. Unlike neighboring Marion County, Morgan County is using a new state law which allows the county option income tax to be used to reduce local property taxes. In Morgan County's case, the property tax reduction will be 30%. And property taxpayers there weren't even complaining or protesting like Marion Co. taxpayers. As the Star explains the Morgan way of dealing with rising property taxes:

Morgan County has adopted three local income taxes and will use the money to blunt increased taxes on homes and other property.

The County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the taxes expected to raise nearly $14 million a year beginning in 2008.

Combined, the actions total a countywide income tax of 1.45 percent, with revenues divided among the county, city, towns, schools, libraries and other government agencies.

Morgan County Commissioner Jeff Quyle said the council's actions make Morgan one of the first counties in the state to use property tax reduction tools passed by the last session of the Indiana General Assembly.

He also estimated that added revenues from income taxes will result in a cut of about 30 percent in the property tax rate . . .

Many Morgan County property owners saw increases this year, and assessed values jumped as much as 30 percent or more in some cases.

For example, property owners in Green Township in the northern part of the county, a booming area of home and potential business development, reported tax increases of 38 percent and more Appeals have been filed about the newest tax assessments on approximately 1,000 parcels this year.

However, Morgan hasn't witnessed the taxpayer rallies and outcry this summer like the reactions in neighboring Marion County. And Morgan officials didn't report assessed value increases of up to 90 percent, as in neighboring Hendricks County.

The goal in Morgan Co. was to reduce property taxes to help lure new businesses. The income tax replacement will give it the lowest property taxes in the Indianapolis region, and it's income tax rate will still be 0.2% lower than Marion Co.'s 1.65% rate. Obviously, this will make the county more attractive to Marion Co. residents fleeing high taxes here. I particularly like how the schools are participating in the income tax replacement option. The schools represent about half of the property tax bill.


Wilson46201 said...

Morgan County is also notoriously 98.4% white...

Wilson46201 said...

Unless there's a special provision excluding schools from COIT receipts, I believe all taxing units receive a proportional share of COIT. I do know township governments get a piece of the COIT funding stream. There may have been recent legislation to more narrowly target which entities automatically get a piece of that COIT cash... I suspect there are likely such targeting "strings" attached to the specific "Public Safety COIT" increase authorized by the Legislature and passed by the CC Council here Monday night.

Anonymous said...

What doe sthe demographics have to do with it Wilson? Oh, I know, Only white people pay taxes, right?
No such thing as an employed black? Maybe you just have nothing better than throw yourself at the feet of our democrat leaders and worship the ground they walk on.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Schools did not get any of Marion County's COIT increase, Wilson. It goes to public safety, criminal justice and pensions--all items under the control of Uni-Gov. Other taxing units don't share in its collections.

Anonymous said...

That is of course if the money actually makes it there.

Remember the CCC lawyer said the tax increase did not specify WHERE the money would go - so that public safety CCC members could vote on it legally.

Pike voter

Anonymous said...

"Morgan County is also notoriously 98.4% white... "

Are you trying to say that only predominantly white counties know how to effectively run a government? If you are that would be awfully racist of you.

Anonymous said...

I know Jeff...he's a smart cookie. Altho:

I generally don't like trading one tax for another. This dangerous ploy started in 1973 with Gov. Bowen's ridiculous tax plan. It's a too-easy "fix" that never ends up doing what it was intended to do, and they tend to be taxes that never go away.

Isn't it smarter to own up to tax problems and fix them outright?

That said, Morgan gets a lot of raps, some of them deserved. At least they used a convenient tax tool to try to help their citizens.

The racial makeup of the county is completely lost on me in this context...I'm dumbstruck at its mention.

And the LAST freaking unit of government that need ANY more of my money is townships. They're like the Pentagon: they throw more money on the ground than they spend wisely. (Think Walter Reed)

Here's a township tax idea for you: sell Center's real estate portfolio. It isn't generating property taxes, thanks to their trustee and still-asleep township board. It is turning out to be pretty expensive personal storage space.

Another idea: sell the Center trustee's car. It's expensive, outfitted with police equipment and darkened windows. Let him use one of his many personal vehicles and turn in mileage for trustee business. Whatever that is.

Washington Township's trustee is considering buying and/or rennovating fofice space for himself and the court/constable. Precisely at the time township government is on its knees.

Do ANY of these township folks geet it?

Anonymous said...

"The racial makeup of the county is completely lost on me in this context...I'm dumbstruck at its mention."

Never mind Wilson he's a negro trapped in a gay white man's body. He likes his men as he likes Ho-Ho's. You know chocolate on the outside with a white and creamy center.

Anonymous said...

Tripe like above is the reason people turn off anonymous commenting.

Anonymous said...

Still...I chuckled.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, have you ever really asked yourself exactly why the donut counties like Morgan are 98% white? Try looking in the mirror at yourself.

Anonymous said... is looking for volunteers . Please join as we may lead the way in tax increases.

Anonymous said...

Gee, what a great idea! Replace one tax with another.

That explains why my Morgan County withholding went from $52.00 to $112.00.....per month.