Taxing lawyers, docs, Realtors

January 7, 2008
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Your lawyer probably isnâ??t complaining. Neither would your doctor, Realtor or accountant.

In all the talk about reforming property taxes, hardly a word has been said about shifting some of the property tax burden to services.

That means some of the most lucrative potential sources of revenue may stay off the table during the General Assemblyâ??s short session, which begins tomorrow.

Steve Johnson, the former CEO of the nonpartisan Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, thinks itâ??s unrealistic to think legislators would take up the issue while it deals with property taxes and reforming local government. But he insists it should come up, if not now, then in the next few years.

The state hasnâ??t broadened its tax base in a meaningful way since it added a sales tax in the 1960s, Johnson points out.

Previous attempts to tax services were quickly slapped down by lobbyists, but, Johnson adds, â??It eventually is going to have to come to a head and be seriously discussed.â??

Should Indiana tax services?
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  • Norm,

    The last time I looked Indiana does tax services. Look at your next plumbers, cable, telephone, IPL, IWC, ups shippments, etc.

    If the State would tax services from Doctors, Lawyers (you missed lawyers), realtors, stock brokers, consultants, etc. I would just be passed on to the public. Regarding realtors, are you talking about taxing the realtor or the buyers of the new home?

    dwf
  • Politicians should devote there time to cutting structural government expenses as proposed by the bipartisan committee headed by former Governor Joe Kernan and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall Sheppard instead of dreaming up new revenue sources or playing a shell game with taxes?
  • DWF, a possibility that has been discussed is to tax property transactions. Sellers, not Realtors, would pay this tax. The tax probably would depress property prices, in effect cutting Realtor commissions.
  • It is unlikely that politicians will reduce their spending, eliminate township government or streamline government administration unless the states news media, voters, and business lobbyists provide relentlous public pressure on government leaders.
  • What about the self-employment tax paid by consulting professionals (of all stripes)?

    Here's a tip from a consultant for free: Streamline services and the ways in which they're delivered, institute process improvement to find waste (and reward people for its elimination), ruthlessly delete reduncancy in all areas, then consider what services are (1) critical and (2) important but can be temporarily sidelined. If we're spending more than we take in, we're what my great grandmother with her 5th grade education called broke. The stuff in the (1) pile gets saved first and then we do triage on the stuff in the (3) pile. Finally, we figure out the best way to collect taxes for the services that, in the final analysis, are needed by the people (and that we're willing to pay for).

    How's that?

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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