Sunday, January 4, 2009

Daniels aims to cap property taxes

The Evening News and Tribune lays out Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' priorities in the upcoming legislative session.

Among them, a relatively impregnable cap on property taxes.

For further property tax debate, look no further than House Bill 1001, which passed last year. It put caps on homeowner tax bills at 1 percent of assessed value; 2 percent for rental property; and 3 percent for business property.

Daniels wants those caps put into the constitution so that a future legislature can’t easily remove them.

Sound fair enough? Helps out all those homeowners who've been struggling?

The catch:

Local Democrats are against the idea.

“I think it would be premature to do it right now; no one knows what’s going to happen,” [Rep. Dennie Oxley, D-Taswell] said.

Turns out it's really a redistribution issue, cloaked in property and education labels.

The phased-in caps are projected to save taxpayers an estimated $229 million in 2009 and $524 million in 2010. But that is money school districts and local governments won’t collect, although lawmakers steered an extra $120 million to schools over the next two years to soften the blow.