Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hoosier politics: Governor Daniels' property tax plan

Here's the text of it. I've also found a pretty good LA Times article on the subject here that focuses on the role of overly numerous and unqualified tax assessors in the problem, an issue Daniels appears to be trying to fix. There's a particularly interesting episode they recount (in maddening little detail) about business properties in Marion County that were significantly undervalued. If this is a common phenomenon, then I suspect that may go a long way toward explaining just why local and state revenues keep falling so short.

What can I say? I have a sneaking suspicion the shortfall isn't due to overly lavish attention being paid to Indiana schools. Nor to cracking down on Indiana's very average crime rating.

I have one serious issue with it, though: what's up with capping taxes on rental property higher than other homes? Is this not asking the poor to carry a disproportionally high property tax burden, i.e., making property taxes regressive? Anyone got an answer for this?

Come to think of it, I'm also surprised about the insistence on a constitutional amendment. Why is simple legislation not good enough, especially in case the government falls on real hard times at some point and needs a temporary increase? Then again, the Indy Star reports that a constitutional amendment would send a tax cutting referendum to the people at the same time as the governor's own election.

Suddenly it all becomes clear.

WSBT (I believe) interviewed John Broden, my local rep, and he had something especially interesting to say: several of Daniels' proposals have already been legislated. So much for the no-nonsense problem solving of my man Mitch.

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