The Evansville Courier Press has an article penned by Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and Senate Minority Leader Richard Young. It’s encouraging to see these leaders write directly to the people of Indiana about Property Taxes. However, they fail to “get it” on several issues.
The article is pretty much a summary of what we’ve been reading in the papers about what the General Assembly is trying to accomplish with property taxes. Both should be congratulated for not taking undue credit and helping with the progress made so far. Still, it seems they want us to forget how we got here, and what is going on in the other chamber of the esteemed body, where representatives continue to argue partisan points and change the good piece of legislation enacted in the senate.
This marks the fourth consecutive session many of us have attempted to address the complexities of property taxes. Earlier reforms have not garnered enough public support and political will to prevent the crisis too many Indiana property owners face. This year, public support and political will must prevail.
First off, I’m not so sure how serious the proposals over the last four years have been. My feeling is they were other “band-aid” ideas benefiting very few Hoosiers. Regardless, leaders lead and politicians politic. If the legislature knew we were headed for the current crisis, they should have taken the lead and thwarted the problem before it became a crisis. Instead, as the above quote implies, they decided to politic and do what was popular. Well, now it’s popular and we still have the politicking, as what evidenced by what is going on in the house. Granted, neither of these Senators have anything to do with what is going on in that chamber, but they would do well to cross the hallway and work with members of their own, and other, party to make sure the relief they passed in their chamber, passes in the house.
They also discuss property tax repeal. They state:
Total repeal of property taxes — as some Hoosiers and legislators would like to do — requires raising about $7 billion in income and sales taxes, resulting in tax rates economists say would drive away workers and employers. Especially at a time when Indiana’s economy remains fragile, lawmakers must be certain of consequences. Currently, more questions than answers surround this concept of property tax repeal. However, the issue of repealing property taxes entirely remains a worthy long-term goal.
First off, I thought Indiana was on a hot streak, economically, not “fragile”, but I digress.
If offsetting the property tax rate with income tax would result in an unacceptable rate for “workers and employers”, doesn’t this say more about state and county spending than it does about the rate. I mean no one is talking about an overall tax increase, but finding fairer methods to keep the status quo. If placing all of this under one rate (income) is unacceptable, then why is it anymore acceptable to spread the same total among many different taxes? If taxes are too high, address the problem (spending) and stop playing the Indiana tax shell game.