IBJNews

Voters expected to OK property-tax cap amendment

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

There's little question about it — the public question asking voters whether the state constitution should include property-tax limits is nearly certain to pass.

A recent poll found that more than 60 percent of likely voters support the proposed constitutional amendment, and some of the measure's biggest opponents have given up the fight.

Indiana law already limits property tax bills to 1 percent of homes' assessed values, with 2-percent caps on farmland and rental property and 3-percent limits on business property. Putting those caps into the state constitution will make them much harder to undo — a feature both praised by supporters and decried by opponents of the caps.

Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, is urging voters to approve the amendment, which lawmakers have worked since 2008 to get on Tuesday's ballot.

"In tough economic times like we are facing, taxpayers need more protection and they need stability," Espich said.

The caps saved taxpayers $478 million this year and are projected to save another $577 million next year, according to an October report from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.

But not all homeowners benefit. Only about 11 percent of homesteads hit the property tax limits in 2010, the analysis said. Even with the caps in state law, property tax bills can increase for property owners whose bills fall below the caps and for those with increasing assessed values on their property.

Still, supporters say the constitutional caps would give homeowners added peace of mind and would prevent shocking increases like those seen in 2007. Property tax bills skyrocketed in much of the state that year because of new assessment rules and other factors, sending hordes of homeowners to the Statehouse demanding changes. The caps were approved in 2008, and the process of amending the constitution began the same year.

Karl Berron, president of the Hoosier Property Tax Reform Alliance and CEO of the Indiana Association of Realtors, said those thinking about making an investment in a home or a business like having predictable tax bills — not the wild fluctuations seen a few years ago.

"That becomes comforting to be able to have some sense of what your maximum liability will be," Berron said.

But opponents criticize the more permanent nature of constitutional caps, pointing out that it would take years to change the caps if unforeseen consequences arise in the future.

Some local government leaders aren't happy about the current consequences of the caps. The 2008 law raised the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help pay for property tax relief, but local governments and school districts have faced millions of dollars in revenue losses from the caps. Cities around the state have blamed layoffs and other cost-cutting measures on reductions in property tax cash.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Farm Bureau don't like the caps because they think it's unfair to treat commercial and residential property differently.

But those two groups aren't fighting the proposal, which they consider a sure thing to win approval.

"It's going to pass," said Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. "We've moved on."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Hmpf
    People love to see rate caps, but I'd guess the vast majority voting FOR this will only see their tax burden increase because of it ... and through all kinds of odd fees.
  • Another victory for the rich
    Indiana already has an income tax so the only real fear for the upper-class is taxation on property. If the rich can package "caps" as a "protection" for normal people, they will have the equivalent of income for life when the property values cycle restarts.

    The real middle-class and working-class will gradually experience higher sales taxes and user fees to offset the state's lost income. And of course, these expenses are things that the rich can easily avoid (by shopping from their second homes instead of in Indiana).

    This campaign was a coup for marketing professionals and a stab in the back for the ignorant and uneducated in our state.
    • good point
      If the caps are a good idea today they will be a good idea tomorrow after everyone is given a chance to reconcile the affects. To rush into a constitutional change seems a bit rash.
      What the results will be are higher local taxes and increased user fees. Well maybe that is a better way to fund local government.
      So the next question is how to we reduce the amount of money that goes to the state.
    • just get them right
      I'm not a proponent of caps either on rates or assessments. The list of bad funding/taxing options to replace the lost revenue to local governments is pretty long. I don't believe for a minute that the locals will just live on less. Get ready to pay fees for things that you never thought of.
      • assessments
        If you cap assessments, you pretty much declare winners and losers in taxation as of some moment in time. The real problem with assessments is that to do them correctly, it costs way, way too much, and, because of what it costs, Indiana doesn't do them correctly. What might make sense is to base assessments on sales price (assuming it's an arms length sale) and using some sort of inflation/deflation factor for subsequent years. Since the average home sells once a decade, mistakes wouldn't last forever, which they do currently. If you added some sort of self-reporting system for major improvements another obvious benefit would be lowering the cost of assessing. Trending, done annually, is a multi-million dollar business in Indiana, and even though we capped the revenue, we certainly didn't cap the expense of assessment.
      • assessments
        If you cap assessments, you pretty much declare winners and losers in taxation as of some moment in time. The real problem with assessments is that to do them correctly, it costs way, way too much, and, because of what it costs, Indiana doesn't do them correctly. What might make sense is to base assessments on sales price (assuming it's an arms length sale) and using some sort of inflation/deflation factor for subsequent years. Since the average home sells once a decade, mistakes wouldn't last forever, which they do currently. If you added some sort of self-reporting system for major improvements another obvious benefit would be lowering the cost of assessing. Trending, done annually, is a multi-million dollar business in Indiana, and even though we capped the revenue, we certainly didn't cap the expense of assessment.
      • property-tax cap amendment
        The next task is to cap property assessments.

        Post a comment to this story

        COMMENTS POLICY
        We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
         
        You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
         
        Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
         
        No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
         
        We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
         

        Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

        Sponsored by
        ADVERTISEMENT

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
         
        Subscribe to IBJ
        1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

        2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

        3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

        4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

        5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

        ADVERTISEMENT