Friday, November 09, 2007

Bauer Agrees to Play On Property Tax Reform

Gov. Mitch Daniels received welcoming news from House Speaker Pat Bauer, who announced yesterday the Governor's property tax relief plan will be co-authored by Rep. William Crawford (D) and Rep. Jeff Espich (R), and the House will begin holding hearings on the legislation before the legislature begins its work in earnest in January. Gov. Daniels had already received similar assurances from Senate President David Long (R), who supports Daniels' property tax relief package.

Bauer's announcement yesterday indicates to me he understands that politically it is just as important to the House Democrats as it is to Gov. Daniels that the legislature produce meaningful property tax relief before next year's primary election in May. This year's elections saw the defeat of more mayors seeking re-election than just about any year and the property tax issue loomed large in many of the races. According to Brian Howey, 38% of the contested mayor's races this year ended in the defeat of the incumbent mayor. The losses hit Republican and Democratic mayors. Let's hope the two parties can keep their partisan differences to a minimum and get the job done before the adjournment of this next legislative session.


Wilson46201 said...

It's going to be unholy hell next spring when the property tax bills arrive. This year Your Man Mitch deferred the 2007 tax increase to 2008. The reassessments will not substantially change most folks assessed value so they'll be asked to pay the same high tax bills plus the deferred increase from this year.

In effect: a "double whammy" tax bill. This year there was lots of hollering but nobody had to actually pay those high tax bills. In 2008, the 2007 increase comes due in addition to the high 2008 bill.

It's going to be ugly!

Anonymous said...

The first smart Bauer move in ten years. And I'm a Democrat.

The governor's plan needs tweaking, and I think he expects that.

Espich is a goof, and he's part of the problem--been there too long. And after Crawford's remarks during the mayoral campaign, I think he's losing it, too.

But the Indianapolis election results sent a chill throughout the legislature. They want to get the business done and head back home to campaign, fresh with a property tax fix on their resumes.

Fingers crossed---this likely won't leave time for Eric Miller's favorite wedge whacker--A revitalized SJR7.

Zappatista said...

This needs to be bi-partisan. period.

Good luck to all!

Anonymous said...

The voters sent a VERY clear message to both parties with this week's elections. If the current member's of the Indiana legislature plan on staying there for more than just their current terms, there needs to be substantial property tax relief. No more partisan b.s., catering to special lobbyists(ie school boards who think they can spend without accountability, wasteful township government, etc) If they were shocked about local elections, wait till next election. It(local elections) are a drop in the bucket to what will happen statewide. And Wilson, can you try really hard to make just 1, just 1 post without a personal attack on someone. Your arguments lose credibility with the vendetta you have against anything non-Democrat.

Sir Hailstone said...

"Your arguments lose credibility with the vendetta you have against anything non-Democrat."

You're in present tense. The verb should be in past tense.

Wilson46201 said...

All school boards are elected by taxpayers - none are "unaccountable". Township budgets are also determined by elected Boards - none are "unaccountable".

Anonymous said...

Wilson wrote:
"All school boards are elected by taxpayers..."

Unlike the very prominent teachers union in Indiana, which throttles meaningful education reform.

But don't let that fact get in the way.



Wilson46201 said...

The Indiana State Teachers Association is a democratic membership organization of professional educators. And that has exactly what to do about popularly elected, accountable school boards? Trying to find a convenient scapegoat for somebody's latest crackpot pedagogical scheme not being implemented?

Anonymous said...

AR, it'd be great if you were correct at least once in a while.

Teacher unions aren't the problem. Never have been. Teachers are the front line in the battle for a qusality education. There are some bad apples in that group, just like all worker groups. But not many. It's a tough profession these days--not for the faint of heart or the lazy.

The real problem in Indiana has been, and continues to be, too many administrators building too many buildings beholden to too many architects. And the resulting debt.

As Jim Schellinger is about to find out.

Cause ya see, architects make very little money unless they're building something. And the incestuous relationship between them and superintendents is insane. Most big Ark firms employ fired/retired former superintendents as consultants. It's a clubby bunch, and the cartel needs to be busted.

If Wilson and others expect school boards to break this crap up, they're dreaming. Most school boards are lap dogs to the superintendents. It's disgusting.

Them debt to which this alliance has obligated school districts is unreal. IPS alone has almost a half billion in new debt. Instead of solving the problem--finding a way to merge with other school systems or closing many buildings more than they are now--IPS built. And built. For the last three years, and the next several years.

You can't build and spend your way out of a crisis.

Over/under on IPS's complete collapse, which should worry everyone statewide, because we're going to have to pick up the pieces: 2013. Gene White is trying hard, but he can't repair a sinking (expensive) ship.

And it will be the fault of not one single teacher.

Oh yeah, Wilson: if school boards are superintendet's lap dogs, then township boards are trustee's bitches. Completely. What a waste of air space township boards are. Ditto trustees.

Anonymous said...

I am very aware that school boards are elected officials. My point about accountability is that presently they have free will to spend how they see fit, regardless of public opinion. Sure, they have hearings when they allow public input, but they do what they damn well want anyway. Don't give me a civics lesson about the election. I've watched my local school corporation spend MILLIONS on wasted items that have zero relevance towards educating our children. So, respond with a personal attack towards myself or the Governor and I will know it is you again.

Anonymous said...

Wow - what exactly am I wrong about here?

My criticism isn't of TEACHERS. It's the UNION. There is a difference. When the union gets in the way of potential reforms (such as moving the election of school boards to the fall election instead of the primary, or having competency testing for teachers who will get a bonus for doing so), to me, that's a problem.

Wilson is correct that school boards are locally elected and, therefore, accountable. But I think what the original poster was saying is that they "...think they can spend without accountability". Sometimes it seems that way - they can be accountable, but it may not seem like that.


Anonymous said...

"AR, it'd be great if you were correct at least once in a while."

AR is correct in this opinion. ISTA is part of the problem. They have fought tooth and nail against meaningful reform, i.e. charter schools and from the rhetoric expressed over property taxes, fully intend to safeguard their honey pot. Every D legislator dances to their tune because of their campaign contributions. But the worm has turned. They need to either get on the train or get runover by it.

And not all school boards are necessarily lapdogs of the superintendent. Case in point Perry Township SB who ousted the superintendent to the tune of $450k. And the taxpayers got a screwing there. Then you have the Perry Township constable selling badges and parking privileges to the highest bidder. Nobody seems to have any integrity or honesty anymore. It's no wonder the public is outraged. Rightfully so. .....Another Angry Republican

Anonymous said...

I hope the legislators realize that activists are going to take on the legislature like they did the Indianapolis CCC.

It looks likely they are not backing off property tax repeal message.

Anonymous said...

Charter Schools aren't the answer.

I understand parents' frustration and desire for another system, hence charter schools. In this state, their record is mixed, at best. And it's pretty clear they rob IPS of students.

The answer is fixing the existing system. Which will be a huge task.
Dr. White is trying, but he likely can't succeed. It's just that big a problem.

ISTA is not even a remote part of the problem. If you want to bonus good teachers, just whom do you trust to evaluate for those bonuses? Superintendents and principals? You're kidding, right?
There are some good ones, but my experience has been pretty sad in that category.

That's why ISTA fights bonuses. Let's just pay all of them better.

And whatever it's worth, the Perry Board is a lapdog. Doug Williams was a lousy superintendent. They cow-towed to him for years. The public got upset for the wrong reasons: a board that was arrogant in its disposition of Williams's case.

The underlying problem: Williams's inability to get budgets under control. It's still there. He spent like a drunken sailor. They all do.

Superintendents drink different water and breathe mighty thin air.
They're never around to pay for the debt they've pushed on us. And generally, altho they say otherwise, they hahve contempt for anyone who does not agree 100% with them. Their collective arrogance would make Monroe Gray blush.

Hint: it's not always about brand-spanking new buldings. Sometimes, you remodel what you've got. Kinda like we all do in our homes when they age.

ISTA, IFT and individual teachers are NOT the problem. Never have been and never will be. They're powerful because they stand up for teachers. I shudder to think what would be going on without their presence at the Statehouse. There are forces at play here which would love for you to think ISTA and IFT are the problem, because then, you've got a convenient target for the blame game.

When the blame really belongs elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The sad sad reality of the property tax system in Indiana is that there is NO real immediate solution to the problem.
It CAN be eliminated completely but that's not going to happen and even if it did we would not see any benefit until 2010 or 2011.

I don't usually side with Wilson but you folks need to understand this "double whammy" come Spring that's going cost more than few folks their homes.

The word is that the reassessments are in many cases going to hit people worse than the first one did and aside from angry mobs burning down the State House.....with all the lawmakers in it I see no solution.

And if the $240 bucks Bauer is sending us as our rebate then that will give you some idea how this session's going to end. Sure, we can vote everyone out but the problem will remain.
Are you willing to hang around Marion County for three more years with nothing more than a hope and a prayer?
I'll take my "double whammy" in the Spring but I'm out of here come Fall.

Anonymous said...

All it is going to take is public action with the legislators. They will do as we say and they know they have to.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say I agree with a portion of what you are saying. Charter schools aren’t the total answer, but they are a start and it’s the only choice frustrated parents have at this point. As a parent AND a taxpayer, I would love to be able to take my voucher—which is basically voting with my pocketbook—and get the best education for my children from the school that best fits their educational needs. Warehousing students in megaschools with thousands of students aren’t the answer and contributes to this state’s abysmal graduation rates. And I’m no fan of the architects, engineering firms and the myriads of others who have had a part in the Taj Mahal thinking process surrounding school construction. I also agree with you about refurbishing or even using other facilities, i.e. big box stores that can be retrofited into schools. But I stand behind the statement that ISTA is part of the problem. I certainly don’t see them as part of the solution. When was the last time anyone has seen a written agenda from that organization outlining their legislative priorities for education reform?? Who better to advocate in this area, and in the process improve the work environment and possibly the pay structure for their constituency? But advocacy for their membership COUPLED with good public policy has never been their way of operating. They prefer to sprinkle contributions about and count on the ensuing partisan stalemates as a means to shut down any real reform.

Anonymous said...

One more point of clarification to my post of 1:17 and then I'll shut up. The can of worms I opened with the word voucher DOES NOT mean private school. I have no desire to send my kids to an exclusive private school. I'm a FIRM BELIEVER in the public school system.

Anonymous said...

1:32 and 1:17, you have a decent point. To far too many folks, voucher equals private school.

Your idea has merit. Honestly, I've neveer thought of it. It has some pretty drastic bookeeping implications, but that could be tackled.

But you really do need to check yourself regarding ISTA and IFT. Check out this link form the ISTA web page, for insitance:

Or try this one, their legislative priorities for the upcoming session:

I don't buy everything in their priority list, but most of it is spot-on. These folks jsut want to do their jobs with the resoruces, support and follow-up they need.

You've been listening too hard to Rush and those who regularly pummel public education for a living. On the horizon of publicly-debated issues, this one is low-hanging shots abound.

Again, teachers are not the problem. No, I'm not one, not the spouse of one nor do I have any special interest in teaching.

I do have tremendous admiration and respect for the profession. Almost as much as the military, because their mission is vitally immportant to our future. You know what they say:

"If you can read and understand this, thank a teacher."

So, thanks.