The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

October 6, 2010

Opponents of amendment to put tax caps in constitution face uphill battle

INDIANAPOLIS —  Groups hard hit by dwindling property tax revenues have united to keep tax caps out of the Indiana Constitution. But they admit it’s an uphill battle.

Their argument: An affirmative vote for what will appear as “Public Question No. 1” on the November ballot will have long-term negative consequences on local communities already struggling to provide basic services.  

The informational campaign is aimed at getting voters to reject what’s been a politically popular idea. That is, to amend the state constitution to make permanent the property tax caps that were put into law by the Indiana Legislature two years ago.

The caps have saved Indiana homeowners millions of dollars but also resulted in cuts to police, fire, library and other local services dependent on property tax revenue.

“It sounds like such a good idea and it’s been easy for politicians to say, ‘Look what I’ve done for you,’” said Susan Akers, executive director of the Indiana Library Federation and a coalition member. “But it’s our job to say, ‘This isn’t helpful to Hoosiers; it’s harmful.’”

The coalition in opposition to the amendment also includes the Urban Schools Association, the Indiana Association of Counties, and the Indiana PTA. They’re distributing buttons, fliers, and other material that describe the proposed constitutional amendment as unnecessary, given that the caps are already law.  

“We know its passage is almost a done deal,” said Chuck Little of the Urban Schools Association. “But we still think people need to go into the voting booth with their eyes opened on this issue.”

The caps were set into motion more than two years ago in response to a 2007 spike in property taxes that came about as the result of a court ruling. The 2008 Indiana General Assembly passed a law that limits property tax bills to 1 percent of homes’ assessed value, with a 2 percent cap on farmland and rental property and 3 percent limit on business property.

When lawmakers imposed the caps, they also raised the state sales tax, from 6 percent to 7 percent, and directed the extra revenue be used to fund schools. But sales-tax revenues have plunged with the recession. In response, Daniels ordered across-the-board budget cuts, including a $300 million cut to public education.

A campaign to get voters to cast a “No” vote to an issue that’s been championed by Gov. Mitch Daniels is a challenge, coalition members say. Two influential groups that officially oppose the amendment, the Indiana Farm Bureau and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, have said they don’t plan to campaign against it, even though the tax caps place a larger burden on farmers and businesses.

Public sentiment seems to be on the side of tax cap advocates. The amendment was favored by 64 percent of Indiana residents surveyed in December by Ball State University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs.

Advocates for the amendment include the Hoosier Property Tax Reform Alliance, the coalition of homeowners, business and policy groups that launched a more public campaign in mid-September with Daniels as honorary chair. They argue that placing constitutional limits on property tax bills would make it harder for state lawmakers or judges to undo the caps.

Maureen Hayden is statehouse bureau chief for CNHI’s Indiana newspapers. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • news_ukraineprotests.jpg Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions

    Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_target.jpg Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

    Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Evacuation came too late for many on sinking ferry

     An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 3 protesters killed in attack on Ukrainian base

    The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three protesters were killed in a clash in southern Ukraine, high-level talks were held in Geneva and Vladimir Putin weighed in on his neighbor's future for hours from Moscow.

    April 17, 2014

  • news_marathonsecurity.jpg Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race

    The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_diabetescomplications.jpg Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

    In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_skoreaferry.jpg Fears rise for missing in South Korea ferry sinking

    Fears rose Thursday for the fate of 289 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ukraineprotests.jpg Pro-Russian gunmen make inroads in eastern Ukraine

    The well-armed, Moscow-backed insurgency sowing chaos in eastern Ukraine scored a new victory Wednesday, seizing armored vehicles and weapons from underequipped government forces, then rolling through two cities to a hero’s welcome.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_detroitsunset.jpg Detroit still needs $350M from state lawmakers

    Pressure was building Wednesday for Michigan lawmakers to commit $350 million to Detroit pensions, a day after the city reached tentative agreements with pension funds and a retiree group to reduce payouts.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0408 - Crash Sperrys 2 Family, friends bid farewell to Jesse Sperry

    The fussing of 10-day-old Autumn Marie Sperry seemed to coincide with the beginning of the funeral service for her father, Jesse Sperry, whose body rested just a few feet away. More than 200 friends and family members gathered at Edgewood Baptist Church this afternoon to pay their respects to Jesse, who was killed April 6 in a traffic accident on Indiana 32.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

How well do you monitor your child's use of social media?

I do a good job
I check occasionally
Not well at all
     View Results