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Property Tax Debate: Hoosiers Deserve Better Than Legislating By Demand

Schellinger Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger waded into the property tax debate yesterday with a trip to the Statehouse to show his disappointment with the Guv and Republican lawmakers' "my way or the highway" attitude toward reform. WISH-TV reports:

Even some Democrats took the proposal as just a negotiating tactic intended to respond to what the Republicans did Thursday when GOP members of the House and Senate staged a media event. The presentation was to promote their latest property tax proposal. Even the governor chimed in.

It's caused a Democratic candidate for governor to make a trip to the Statehouse.

"We need to build consensus and the ultimatum that was issued yesterday is inappropriate," said Jim Schellinger (D).

It produced an apology and an explanation from a key Republican.

"I thought that it was very, very important that the House Republicans step up and publicly state their willingness to compromise on these issues," said Senator Luke Kenley (R).

The effect on property tax negotiations is still unclear.

"I hope the political posturing is done and I hope yesterday was the last example of that," said Goodin.

Comments

9:18--People think school spending is the reason for the tax problem because they only listen to the Guv rather than analyzing all the data available.

Several things added up to cause this and school spending is way down the list. School spending did NOT increase between 2006 and 2007 enough to make a dent in anyone's tax bill (relatively speaking).

Here's what happened...
1. Inventory tax was removed by the state leg. (just to be fair it was not under this guv) but the local government was left to handle the tax shift on their own. There were only two options. Do nothing and let the tax rates correct themselves. Or implement a new income tax that was dedicated to homesteads only. Most counties did nothing and the tax rates did correct themselves.
2. Mitch froze PTRC
3. Mitch froze homestead credits

Mitch did 2 and 3 to balance the state budget. He got his balanced budget, alledgedly, but we had to pick up the tab. This is money that counties counted on. Money that kept your property taxes down. Mitch took it away.

BTW, Mitch's balanced budget is looking suspicious since the state is $86 mil behind in tax collections for the year.

"Stupid consensus-building Schellinger. He ought to just do whatever he feels like. To hell with community feedback!" -TDW

I guess you support the idea of referenda after all! Nice!

"If someone asks you to be part of a project, and you have the skill set to bring people together, work through the issues and get them to agree on a modified plan, you do it."

Especially if the size of your paycheck is at risk!!

"What is Schellinger doing addressing the concerns of the community?"

By the way, that comment just cracked me up.

If someone asks you to be part of a project, and you have the skill set to bring people together, work through the issues and get them to agree on a modified plan, you do it.

Stupid consensus-building Schellinger. He ought to just do whatever he feels like. To hell with community feedback!

I have to wonder how many of those House Republicans will actually vote for the sales tax increase when forced to choose between the green and red buttons.

If you think Bart Peterson lost because of school projects, you need to go back to Political Analysis 101.

"I can also tell you that people in the communities where Schellinger's company has designed projects were overwhelmingly won over by his willingness to compromise with them, address their concerns and come up with an end result that made everyone happy."

What is Schellinger doing addressing the concerns of the community? Shouldn't that be the job of the superintendents and school boards? I thought an architects job was just to bring up design ideas? Are we paying these school building architects even more money to be community liaisons?

"I'm not buying the Guv's argument that schools should be crucified for building new facilities."

You do understand that in most cases, half or more of all property taxes goes to the local school district? They whine about not having enough money for teachers, yet are willing to dump $10,000,000+ for a natatorium. $10,000,000+ can pay for healthcare, teachers, administrators, gas for the buses, etc.. Only a political hack with the Democrat party could look around at all the wasteful school building extras and still make a statement like this!

"However, I don't think people are that stupid."

Think again. Look what happened to Peterson. Petty cash is right. People know why their property taxes are going through the roof...school construction.

"The excuse that they're holding out for the little guy doesn't hold much water given the various concessions the Rs have made."

These are the same people that claim the hike in sales taxes are going to hurt the poor. However, some of these same individuals had no problem passing a law letting Marion Co. and surrounding counties hike the sales tax to build the Jim Ir$ay coliseum. I guess when it comes to property tax reform, it is wrong to hike any sales tax. When it comes to bailouts for millionaires and billionaires, poor people be damned!

The Rs have sucessfully painted the House Ds into a corner. There now exists a property tax plan endorsed by the governor, a clear manority in the Senate, and 49% of the House. When/if a special session is called, the House Ds are set up for the blame. The excuse that they're holding out for the little guy doesn't hold much water given the various concessions the Rs have made. It appears to me that Speaker Bauer hs been outflanked...and that doesn't happen very often.

So true, Jen! Campaigns are often 75% personality. Mitch won't live in the Manse, and he can't corpone us enough with that stupid RV again, can he?

He's slick as pup snot on a glass doorknob. How's that for cornpone?

Indiana can't be that naive twice.


I have been totally puzzled by the reaction by the Dem caucuses to the press event staged by republicans. First of all, get a thick skin guys. You've acted as brazen (if that's what you want to call it) on numerous events. Secondly, I did not view the GOP event as an ultimatum. I read it as both caucuses had reached agreement. Third, Schellinger needs to start documenting at some point that he has any substantive grasp of any policy issue. As in understanding the pros and cons or ramifications of an alternative and actually able to speak to these policy matters. He's now into year two of "I will listen, I will unify." Jim, politics and policy are a little more complicated than that. What a huge disappointment. Finally, the Dems (especially bill crawford) need to start coming up with some credible alternatives and be able to explain their recommendations-- their explanation of thir income tax scheme was a joke. sorry, guys, but you need to come up with a little more substance if you truly want to be taken seriously.

I see your point, and I don't doubt that the Guv will make the school thing into an issue.

However, I don't think people are that stupid.

And my comment was more directed at leadership ability than the details of particular projects.

I guarantee that either of our candidates could run rings around the Guv if they were in a situation that required diplomacy and bipartisanship.

Above all else, campaigns are about personality. The Guv can't pull off that folksy BS twice.

Hope you're right, Jen. I want our party to win thie fall. But--

65% of the Indiana vote is urban. And the political landscape on the property tax front, in Evansville, Ft. Wayne, Gary and here--is ugly. It's not Domocratic- or Republican-ugly, it's just ugly.

And school boards have been lapdogs to superintendents who want to build stupid over-expensive proejcts. Evidence: Franlin Central's and Carmel's football fields, North Central's pool and Lawrence Central's new gym, which replace a gym that was perfectly fine. Round, but fine. Those projects alone total almost $60 million.

And not a single brick for classrooms in that bunch.

The common denominator? The same architectural firm on two of the three.

So, the Tell Citys and Auburns of the world can be pleased as punch with their new CSO-designed buildings. (Trust me, they're not, but I'll alow they may be more pleased than urban school districts) Together, they aren't a blip on the voting landscape compared to the sheer anger in the urban areas.

Mitch can peddle that referendum all over, and he'll get traction, damn it. Undeserved, but traction nonetheless.

This issue has been brewing for two decades. Really, since the 1973 Bowen tax plan, which screwed many school districts to the wall. And doubled our sales tax. And put in place the disasterous Property Tax Replacement Fund. Which became an opiate for lazy legislatures.

Did I mention it doubled our sales tax?

Only in media-poor Indiana can a Republican doctor-governor double sales tax and be labeled a hero.

Deep analysis wept in 1973, and kinda died, actully, on this issue.

I'm not buying the Guv's argument that schools should be crucified for building new facilities. He's using both schools and local governments as a scapegoat for tax problems his 2005 budget created. Why? Because he's up for election this year, and if blame falls at his feet, as it should, he's completely effed.

I can also tell you that people in the communities where Schellinger's company has designed projects were overwhelmingly won over by his willingness to compromise with them, address their concerns and come up with an end result that made everyone happy.

The Guv, as far as I can tell, is unable to list "consensus-building" in the "Additional Skills" section of his CV.

Jen is right. It's ugly but it's real.

But Schellinger had best tred lightly on the whole property tax situation. His architectural firm is knee-deep in a large part of the increase: silly school projects.

I hate referenda for all kinds of reasons, but it's time to reign in runaway Indiana school boards. They, via their superintendents, have way-too-cozy relationships with architects.

In one Marion County district, Schellinger's firm just provided "free" drawings and assistance to a facilities study committee. Surprise! They get most of the work. Tens of millions, about half of it distinctly non-academic in nature.

Whether you agree with it or not, the jig is up with taxpayers on this crap. They've lost all patience to listen to reason.

It doesn't look to me like anything's been blown up.

Bauer called B-Boz and crew out for negotiating via press conference. Hell, it's not like B-Boz even has any room to negotiate. This deal is all Bauer, Crawford, Kenley and Long. If the Boz wanted a seat at the table, he should have run a better campaign in 2006. By the looks of his candidate recruitment, he's gonna be Minority Leader for another two years.

The last few days of the session are the ones that always matter.

So a rational response to a press conf (even an ultimatum) is to blow up (B.Pat's words, not mine) all that's been done to date? Not saying R strategy was big-boy behavior, but good golly I would not have expected the D's to throw a tantrum and take their ball and go home...

Posturing and ego for the D's??? What funny weed you been smoking? It's the GOP that called that press conference and basically issued an ultimatum. That's not exactly a message of cooperation and bipartisanship. But then we all know that Mitch isn't one to play well with others!

WTF? the knuckle heads would really blow up proprty tax reform just because of a presser? Lord knows they've done enough of their own stunts to get it. One is left only to think that this is all about posturing and ego for D's in the legislature...

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