Indiana Farm Bureau and its 280,000 members across the state applaud the recent action taken by the Indiana House of Representatives, which voted 98-0 to end property taxes in the state of Indiana by 2009.  

Indiana citizens, farmers and businesses continue to struggle with a tax system that was established over a century and a half ago by the Constitutional Convention of 1851.  In 1851 the ownership of property was a relatively true measure of wealth and perhaps a fair way to tax individuals.  But times have changed. 

In today’s world, property taxes do not reflect the taxpayer’s ability to pay nor do they reflect the value of the services received by the taxpayer or the benefits provided by government to the property itself. 

Property taxes often tax debt rather wealth.  This is especially true in the case of homeowners with large mortgages.  Moreover, they penalize those homeowners who take pride in the maintenance and upkeep of their property.

Our system demands 1100 separate assessing officials apply the same set of rules, rules which require a high degree of subjective interpretation by the assessors themselves, uniformly and equally across the state.  A recent study conducted by the highly respected Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute verified and highlighted the inequities of our assessment system.  Notwithstanding the best efforts of Indiana’s assessors, it is inevitable that taxes on similar parcels of property will vary widely across the state.

Our property tax system shelters completely those whose wealth is invested in intangibles such as stocks, bonds and other Wall Street securities but penalizes those who reinvest their life savings in Indiana property.

Property taxes are expensive to collect and the assessment process itself consumes much of the revenue that property taxes generate.

Farm Bureau believes it is time for the state to embrace real financial restructuring.  Too often alleged restructuring has been no more than a quick fix that silences those taxpayers who happen to be complaining the loudest at that time but leaves the state’s antiquated property tax system intact.  This approach does nothing to address the larger problems that are inherent in our property tax system.

We understand this measure has a long way to go in the legislative process, but Farm Bureau congratulates Rep. Chet Dobis and his House colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have unanimously endorsed a measure that would address these inequities by throwing out Indiana’s unfair property tax system.  They would give the state three years to develop an alternative system of revenue.  Farm Bureau applauds this genuine bipartisan effort to correct our state‘s antiquated and inequitable tax system and we look forward to working with progressive legislators to move Indiana into the modern world.

Don Villwock is the President of Indiana Farm Bureau

Trending Video