Property tax moment of truth

June 28, 2007
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Marion County will begin sending out property tax bills tomorrow, filling hundreds of mailboxes with bad news. Property TaxesHomeowners are bracing for higher bills thanks in large part to the state's decision a few years ago to abolish the business inventory tax. Even with rebates approved by the General Assembly, some homeowners could see their bills go up 50 percent. Read full coverage from IBJ here. Government officials are bracing for a backlash and deflecting blame. The mayor has called a press conference today to address steps the state could take to reduce property taxes. Who has an opinion?
  • The majority of property tax goes to schools. Get them under control. IPS bonded a billion dollars in the last few years that will be paid off by decades of property tax increases. A billion dollars.
  • ITA. School Boards need to be held accountable for the MASSIVE structures and facilities they are building. Most have no regard for the citizens that have to pay for these things. I didn't go to a school that had a 5,000 seat natatorium or theatre and I like to think I am relatively intelligent person.
  • Well, the good news is that the county income tax isn't very hi... oh, wait. Nevermind.

    I'm just glad that someone finally figured out that it's all IPS' fault that property values were under-assessed for so many years. Say wha?
  • This is going to be a disaster.

    1-This will lower demand for new and existing housing
    2-could blow up the downtown real estate market
    3-foreclosures will increase
    4-taxpapers are getting squeezed

    My understanding is that there are a lot of entities to blame, from the Governor/State to local assessors to schools. Apparently there were NO reassessments of center township commercial properties, only residential. that means homeowners are getting hit hard and not businesses sharing in the taxes.

    I know my taxes are tripling. That means they're going from around 3K to 9K per year. That is a CRAPLOAD!!!!!

    I want someone to do something about this!!!!!
  • Bradshaw - market based assessments took place in the IPS district in 2003. Bart knows it's the schools.
  • Tax amount = (assessed value) x (tax rate)

    For many years assessed values were stable, and it was easy to know that tax rates were going up when taxes increased. Now both are moving targets, and it's impossible to tell if it's increased rates or increased values to blame. To complicate things further, any particular property in Marion County has multiple taxing authorities that independently levy taxes: city, county, schools, township, library, Health & Hospital, etc.

    I'd like to see a circuit breaker that prevents any taxing authority from increasing its total revenue more than 3-4% per year without a referendum. That way if assessed value rises a lot through reassessment, rates would go down and overall tax bills would not take these huge leaps unless the taxing authority explains why it needs the money and gets its voters to agree.
  • I hope this is good news for me, but we'll see if the assessed values are fair. The prices of homes in my neighborhood have taken a beating, with nobody selling in the last year getting what they paid for them.
  • Don: Where do you live? What neighborhood, area?

    Thundermutt: GREAT idea

    Everyone: IPS sucks the big one. Absolutely no accountability, and the T-ship schools are just as bad if not worse. I hate to say this, but I will: You get what you pay for with FREE* education. nobody I know sends their kids to those crappy schools and yes I live in washington Township, and they are no better than anyplace else in Indy.

    Thanks - I feel better now :)
  • Tax burdens should always be directed at consumers, not businesses. Ultimately, if businesses are taxed, it is passed on to consumers in the form of higher costs. So, what is the point in doing so.

    In this particular situation, we have had far too many lawmakers that have avoided this situation for too many years. And, in spite of the fact that they knew it was coming, they did little or nothing.

    State lawmakers have many issues to deal with regarding taxes. They should take the lead and create a version of the fair tax, eliminating income and property taxes for Hoosiers. Granted, that means that we'll pay a consumption tax. However as the book The Fair Tax points out, when you factor out the imbedded taxes, we'll be far better off than we are now.

    Be forewarned, if you think what we're facing locally is bad, just wait until the federal lawmakers finally take responsibility for the mess they've made with underfunding federal programs and overspending. But then, like the State of Indiana, they will likely wait until the issues totally blow up, much like the porous borders we continue to endure.

    Lastly, let's look at good 'ol Bart. He's very busy pointing fingers elsewhere. At the same time he championed the police/sheriff merger claiming all sorts of benefits and cost savings. Ask those involved about the effectiveness. Where are the savings? How much did the city spend for new paint schemes, badging, uniforms, letterhead, etc.? The list goes on and on.
  • Consumption taxes are inherently regressive. That is, they take a higher proportion of the income of lower-income folks. Unless food, clothing, housing and medicine are exempted, they're not fair at all.

    Property taxes are unfair because they are wealth taxes. They tax accumulated income, not current income.

    A flat (i.e. non-progressive) income tax is one of the fairest of all, because it takes the same proportion of everyone's income, and takes it once when the income is earned.
  • Thurdermutt:

    Read Neal Boortz book The Fair Tax. It is a good read and shows clearly how fair consumption taxes can be, if done correctly. For example, everyone starts out with a prebate, in other words, they get the value of the federal poverty level before they pay any tax. Secondly, no one is exempt. That includes drug dealers and illegals. Since they will buy goods, they will pay the tax. Lastly, the amount of wealth that has been taken out of our country because of the overwhelmingly cumbersome and punitive tax code would likely come back if this were done at the federal level. Check it out before you make up your mind.
  • ditch mitch.
  • It is time, short of anarchy, to call for a constituional amendment to vote on property taxes. Alternatives such as the Flat Tax or Fair Tax (income and sales tax alternatives) must be reviewed now and implemented.

    In addition citizens must become involved in the decision making process. I was encouraged to run for a seat in our local government. I stepped up to the challenge, ran and won. I now have the ability the effect the outcome of how my moneys are spent.

    I encourage everyone to get involved. The property tax bill were received in homes a week prior to the election in Hendricks County yet 12% of the voters showed up at the polls. With an average 30% increase in taxes a mere 12% of voters showing at the polls is disappointing. Solving the problems that lie before us require input from everyone. Let's turn apathy into advocacy. IT is the only way we will survive these challenging times.
  • As I mentioned in my letter in the Star today, the system we have now is a terrible replacement for a bad old assessment system-it is simply a guaranteed cost of living allowance for all taxing authorities with no accountability. I also know part of the issue is the tax rate-living within the IPS boundaries means the bill is what matters. Yes, for years the old depreciation model kept taxes too low-but like business abatements and credits and historic district special taxing district, there are sound reasons to the replacement costs of 80-120 year old homes. Regardless that is old news. My $350,000 home assessed in Clay Township Hamilton County would have a tax bill of roughly $4500 versus the $7000 I will pay to live in a part of the city that has not built a new school, or city park, or 30 roundabouts, or any other investment-so tell me how the new market system is fair? What we need is what I call the One-Percent Solution-your home will be taxed at 1% of its value period-residential or commercial. Deductions can be allowed for elderly or low/mod income, but the rate is the rate. The taxing authorities would then have to work with the funds they receive, and only with a vote by the county voters could an emergency increase be approved. If you look, most homes in Central Indiana are taxed at more or less 1% except where the rates are too high-IPS, Perry Township, whatever. Tell our State Representative we need true tax reform now, and the One Percent Solution is the only fair way.
  • Da Hooey: Franklin Twonship, in a condo. I know, it's a condo and they generally don't appreciate as much as houses but our neighborhood has lost value and none of the real estate experts in the area can figure it out.
  • This is bad for everyone in the state. Marion County will start hollowing out as the good people there finally get fed up with the high taxes. 1.65% county option income tax? Extra restaurant taxes to pay for the stadium? Insane property tax rates to fund chronically failing schools and unsafe parks? The solution most will find is to move to one of the doughnut counties. As someone interviewed in the Star said, If I'm going to pay suburban taxes, then I ought to move to the suburbs and get the star schools. I predict a massive exodus to the suburbs, provided people can sell their houses in Marion county.

    The problem, of course, is that a vibrant Indianapolis with its neighborhoods, shops, restaurants, and businesses is key to the quality of life for everyone in the metro area. The hollowing-out of the mtero that is sure to be accelerated now will just turn Indy into another Detroit. And it could all be avoided if the politicians of the city and state would develop the courage to do what they know is right.

    And let's not forget - the traditional solution for Indiana politicians is to expand gambling. They're already killing the slim chances that French Lick had by allowing thousands of slot machines at the already-subsidized race tracks. But just watch - as a solution to the property tax mess, we'll get a couple of casinos in downtown Indy.

    Roll the bones, baby needs a new pair of shoes!
  • Don, why oh why would anyone choose to live in Franklin Township. Some of the highest property tax rates in the state and nothing but sprawl, sprawl, sprawl. I know a couple who recently sold their house in Franklin Township that they had bought in 1980. Based on their selling price, their house appreciated less than one percent a year and that doesn't even include realtor fees.
  • Gee, Sophia, thanks for that insightful comment. I'm sure there are plenty of people who read this board who would say why oh why would anyone live in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, downtown Indy, etc.. Get over yourself.
  • So, my taxes only went up 429% over last year - nothing compared to the over 700% they increased at my old house a few years ago. If I weren't committed to the renewal of downtown neighborhoods and the people who live in them, I'd be moving to a 'burb too.

    Oh wait. I couldn't sell my house...
  • Has there ever been a solid, verifiable study for a correlation between property tax increase and foreclosure rates. To me, and hopefully to others, the answer seems obvious, as propery taxes increase, people can't afford their homes any longer, therefore foreclosures increase. My problem is, why would any community negatively effect the people which keep it stable. It seems we are losing some control, every year taxes increase in some way or another, people are pushed aside, and for some reason, at the same time...government aid, welfare etc. increase. Is this a path we want our communities to travel? Tax the things we don't want in our communities, eliminate, not allow supplements or rebate programs, ELIMNATE all together the taxes for the things we want in our communities, and where government aid is necessary, allow help, but this catagory in our state should be decreasing, at least to me, I figure the more people we have working and supporting themselves, and the less people we have collecting a free check every month, the better it will be for everyone in this great state. Thanks IBJ for allowing a forum to submit our opinions.

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