Why DFMC Says No to Public Question #1
First, here is what you will see on the ballot when you go to vote.
SHALL PROPERTY TAXES BE LIMITED FOR ALL CLASSES OF PROPERTY by amending the Constitution of the State of Indiana to do the following:
- Limit a taxpayer's annual property tax bill to the following percentages of gross assessed value:
- 1% for an owner-occupied primary residence (homestead);
- 2% for residential property, other than an owner-occupied primary residence, including apartments;
- 2% for agricultural land;
- 3% for other real property; and
- 3% for personal property.
The above percentages exclude any property taxes imposed after being approved by the voters in a referendum.
- Specify that the General Assembly may grant a property tax exemption in the form of a deduction or credit and exempt a mobile home used as a primary residence to the same extent as real property?".
Sounds good, right? WELL, IT ISN'T!
When talking about this amendment, many politicians talk about tax caps. The truth, however, is that this term is rather dishonest. THERE ARE NO REAL TAX CAPS in this amendment. In fact, the term is not even used anywhere in the actual language of the amendment (click on the link below to see the full text of the amendment). All that this amendment will do is limit your tax bill to a percentage of your property’s gross assessed value.
This Amendment is UNFAIR!
In Monroe County, unless you own a home worth $378,000 or more, you will receive no benefit from this amendment. In fact, you will actually end up paying more in the form of sales taxes that will be increased in order to make up for the loss of revenue caused by this amendment.
In other words, this is another tax break for the wealthy, paid for by ordinary citizens like you.
This Amendment is UNNECESSARY!
The limits on property taxes in this amendment were already adopted by the General Assembly in 2008 with HEA 1001. This is the type of law that the state legislators are supposed to pass. Then they are supposed to adjust it if it turns out that the law is either ineffective or actually harmful. By locking the law into the Indiana Constitution, however, their hands will be tied, preventing them from making any changes deemed necessary.
And it is already apparent the changes are necessary. The revenue lost as a result of this law has not been covered by the increase in sales tax; so many counties have been forced to cut back on vital services, laying off police officers, firefighters, and other essential personnel. Thus the residents of those counties are actually paying more in taxes for less service.
Here in Monroe County we are fortunate in that the law has had little effect on the budget. It is only a matter of time, however, until it does.
This Amendment is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
The language of the Constitution should be a broad statement of principles that promote fairness and equality for all citizens.
The text of this amendment is the exact opposite of the concept stated above. It is long, detailed, and complicated (click on the attachment at the bottom of this page to read the actual amendment). Furthermore, it permanently sets up three UNEQUAL classes of property owners; and it locks in a system of property taxes that unfairly favors the wealthy. On top of all that, the amendment is written so that it actually does not apply to properties in two Indiana Counties - Lake and St. Joseph Counties - until 2019. No other county gets this kind of preferential treatment.
The only reason to put this law into our State Constitution is so that the courts cannot overturn the unfair tax breaks for the wealthy enshrined in it.
Vote NO on
Public Question #1
The Association of Indiana Counties sponsored a very detailed discussion on this issue recently, and it was taped by CATS. Click here to see the video of that discussion.