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Plans Upon Plans: With Taxes In The Spotlight, Ideas Just Keep Coming

TaxpayerMike Smith of the Associated Press writes about the myriad property tax plans that are creating debate at the Statehouse these days:

"The Indiana Farm Bureau has a property tax restructuring plan. So does the Indiana Association of Realtors. So does conservative activist and lobbyist Eric Miller. So do some individual legislators.

"Gov. Mitch Daniels hopes to present his own proposal by the end of the month. And a legislative panel has examined just about every aspect of the current system, discussed a specific scenario for changing it, and hopes to have an overhaul proposal drafted in November.

"Other plans could be piled on the table by the time lawmakers begin their session in earnest in early January.

"With so many ideas on a very complex subject, will Daniels and a divided General Assembly be able to find consensus on a plan that can be enacted into law?

"It's a question that Senate Tax Chairman Luke Kenley, who also is chairing the bipartisan interim commission on property taxes, has thought about.

"'You can get to the point where you get to overload with respect to information, but I think there is some distilling going on,' said Luke Kenley, a Noblesville Republican who will play a key role in trying to pass a restructuring plan. 'The danger is that people could get fixated on their idea and they don't keep the goals in mind.'

"Kenley believes there is general consensus on the goals: providing significant property tax relief, particularly for homeowners; developing a new system that is fair and reasonable; tax assessments that can be relied upon and bills being sent out on time; and having bills that Hoosiers can understand.

"Daniels says his plan is likely to include proposed amendments to the state constitution so reductions on the reliance on property taxes cannot be undone, at least not easily or quickly. Lawmakers have at times raised state taxes to pay for property tax relief, but the relief has always eroded while the higher state tax rates have remained.

"'I have said that what we do has to be fair, far-reaching and final, and final means that I will be looking for ways to make this last,' Daniels said.

"Kenley and Republican Rep. Jeff Espich of Uniondale, the fiscal leader for House Republicans, said they are glad Daniels will have his own plan. Both noted that the governor has a huge bully pulpit and said it was important that he advance his own ideas. They could provide some needed direction, Espich said.

"'You (a governor) can't just throw it to the Legislature because there are so many competing interests,' Espich said.

"But will Daniels' plan overshadow any proposal the interim commission comes up with? After all, if members of all four caucuses on the commission can agree on a proposal, it could boost its chances of getting through the General Assembly.

"Kenley says he's not worried about that.

"'The governor proposes and the Legislature disposes,' Kenley said, noting that the Legislature made some major changes to some of Daniels' past proposals."

And since this will be the first time the Guv has ever bothered to put something on the table with respect to the property tax situation, odds are pretty good that the pros -- like Kenley -- will have some changes to make. The question is whether the Guv will throw his usual hissy if anyone tries to tinker with his genius.


We need caps on property taxes. I don't care how they do it, they just need to do it. Folks should be paying an equal amount for fire, schools, police, etc. based on home size, not values. I would much rather we have higher income taxes than property taxes.

viva las vegas! what this state needs is a good 5 cent slot machine (apologies to Thomas Marshall).
look at Las Vegas- growing economy.
Indiana- stagnation, depression. obsolete rust belt. Auto businesses from the people who brought you pearl harbor, and the Bataan Death march. big 3- GM(barely #1),Toyota, Ford(barely alive). then Honda(Banzai!). then Chrysler(revived from near death for the 3rd time- 1-Iacocca; 2-Daimler merger; 3-Cerberus buyout(chaired by Dan Quayle).

Will we hear any talk about turning Indiana into the next "Nevada"? dont hold your breath waiting for the jackpot...
So India gets all our jobs. we get turned into a 3rd world state.
nothing to giggle about today.

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