Sunday, February 24, 2008

Star Editorial Raps Lawmakers' Antics On Property Tax Relief

A Star editorial hits the nail on the head today in criticizing recent political gamesmanship by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers which only undermines efforts to achieve real property tax relief and reform. As for the House Democrats altering of Gov. Daniels property tax cap idea to limit property taxes to 1% of household income instead of 1% of the home's assessed value, the editorial has some pretty sharp words:

It may qualify as the worst property tax idea on record.

But the House Ways and Means Committee actually approved a proposal last week that would base homeowners' tax bills not on the value of their properties but on household income.

How would such a radical shift affect tax revenues? Would most Hoosiers' tax bills increase or decrease? Could high-income homeowners create a tax shield by shifting property titles to low-income spouses? Why should the state penalize property owners who decide to invest more in their children's education than in house payments? Or reward those who overextend themselves by buying more expensive houses than they can afford?

Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, who not only hatched this nonsense but also successfully amended it to SJR 1, couldn't answer such questions. The committee chairman, Bill Crawford, admitted that an analysis of the proposal's fiscal impact, a basic step with any legislation that would affect revenues, had not been completed.

Gov. Mitch Daniels described the amendment as "poorly conceived.'' That's a kind criticism under the circumstances.

House Republicans also quickly and appropriately derided the amendment.

Their criticism didn't end there. Republicans took a few knocks as well:

But the GOP caucus doesn't have much room to criticize. The House version of SJR 1, which would write tax caps into the state constitution, died after Republicans tried to add a series of unrelated amendments to the resolution. One GOP proposal would have even tacked a same-sex marriage ban onto the property tax amendment.

Such distractions underscore the fact that even on an issue as urgent as property tax reform, and even after voters have warned legislators to act now or face defeat on Election Day, the game-playing in the Statehouse continues.

Lawmakers would be well-advised to heed the advice given by the Star editorial, particularly lawmakers from Marion County.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only hope is for bloggers like AI to continue to point how bad of a job the partisians on both sides in the statehouse are doing.

Sometimes the stories end up in the mainsteam media.

They pretty much all need to be un-elected.

They are stealing the future of Indiana by raising property taxes to a level that makes property ownership a losing deal. If, in ten years a house value would go up 20,000.00, but the taxes have been 50,000.00, it is plain to see that a house is not a good investment.

Values will fall, neighborhoods will fail, the whole already weak housing market will crumble, taking many Hoosiers future and savings with it.

I don't think much will change. I am looking forward to joing the exodus from Indiana. Would I be a loss, a lawmaker would say probably not, but between myself and my business I paid about 200,000.00 in taxes last year.

If we can't vote these folks out, I will vote with my feet.