Despite the fact that home values in Marion County have plummeted over the past five years, the Marion County Treasurer's office says taxpayers should brace themselves for the fact that 70% of them will see an increase in the taxes they pay. The average tax bill increase is $137.50 according to the Treasurer's office. Why the increases? Believe it or not, the Assessor's office is valuing properties higher on average as a result of reassessments. In addition, tax rates have risen and six of the county's public school districts have raised taxes through referendum--tax increases that are not subject to the state's 1% property tax cap on owner-occupied residential property. Altogether, property taxpayers are being billed more than $1 billion this year, an increase of 4% over last year's tax bills.
Here's an interesting statistic to chew on. How many times have you heard local government officials complain that the reason they are hard-pressed for revenues is because of the state's property tax cap law? Guess what? Just 17% of homeowners have reached the tax caps after applying deductions, which means 83% of homeowners still have room to see their taxes grow before they are capped. Chew on that as Mayor Greg Ballard continues to fight to eliminate the homestead credit that protects many homeowners from even higher tax bills. In fact, if he gets his way, the legislature will eliminate the tax credit by state law this year. Ballard complains that it's a waste of money and only benefits wealthy homeowners, a patently false assertion. It's primarily lower and middle-priced homes that benefit from the homestead tax credit.
Make no mistake about it. Greg Ballard has turned into the biggest enemy of regular taxpayers since his upset victory over former Mayor Bart Peterson in 2007, a campaign he only won by rallying grassroots supporters who were fed up with rising taxes. He blamed Peterson and the Democrats for rising property taxes and income taxes. The record is now clear. Ballard supports higher property taxes and, if he gets his way, your income taxes will be jacked 20% to fund his multi-billion dollar mass transit boondoggle. His friends are the pay-to-play contractors who contribute to his campaign, give him and his family tens of thousands of dollars in freebies every year and pay for him and his wife to take overseas junkets. He rewards his friends with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax giveaways. You get stuck with a higher tax bill, fewer city services and higher crime because there's not enough money to pay for public safety--the job he said he would make job one as mayor.
UPDATE: Here's an example of the shitty job the assessor's office is doing assessing property in Marion County. This dump located in the 3000 block of Carrolton Avenue in Center Township is listed for sale for $9,900.00. The assessor's office increased its assessed value for tax purposes this year from $131,200 to $160,700. The reality is that you would have to practically give this home away to someone before they would invest a dime in it. The game is to intentionally overvalue these homes so people can't afford the taxes on them, they stop paying the taxes on them and abandon them, and then the city winds up taking them for nothing into a land bank, which turns around and sells them on the cheap to the mayor's political cronies, who fix them up and flip them for a quick buck. Hat tip to Eugene Fisk for this catch.
Why would property tax bills rise? We have the Colts, the Pacers; we regularly host the Final Four, and we have hosted the Super Bowl. We also switched to Daylight Savings Time. All this was promised to make us flush with cash.
Your figures must be in error.
Let's see - my assessment went up - not a lot, but it went up despite the fact the only home that has sold recently was bought by an investor for $30,000 and the home next to me which sat abandoned for four years was purchased at the county tax sale for a couple of thousand dollars and fixed up - oh and two homes on my block are for sale, leaving only two owner-occupied homes left on my block (not counting the recently fixed up abandoned home). There used to be six homeowners on my block out of six homes, but I am sure that they are correct, my house is worth more. If I could get what they assessed it at, I would sale it today, pay off my mortgage and clear at least 10 grand. Ain't going to happen. I likely lose $30,000 if I had to sell it today. Their assessment practices are fraudulent - they think that their job is to help raise revenue instead of ascertaining fair value. Of course private appraisers aren't really any better - I don't know how anyone can assess or appraise a house if they have never been in it.
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