(STATEHOUSE) Feb. 26, 2008 - Today, Rep. Randy Borror (R- Fort Wayne) offered an amendment to Senate Joint Resolution 1 to return it to its original form. House Democrats killed the amendment, and voted to tie homestead circuit-breakers to household income, instead of the property's assessed value.
"Across the state, Hoosiers have spoken very clearly," said Rep. Borror. "They want caps on property taxes, and they believe placing caps on a property's assessed value is the foundation of property tax relief in Indiana.
"For so much of this session, Democrats and Republicans have worked hand in hand, listening to Hoosier taxpayers, but Democrats have let politics trump good public policy. If they were serious about helping families, they would have listened to what Hoosiers are saying, instead of supporting an amended bill that they have no idea how their changes will fiscally impact homeowners."
Even though Rep. William Crawford, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee authored this amendment, neither he nor anyone else was able to answer basic questions concerning the new proposal, because it was not based on any empirical evidence. The Ways and Means Committee was not given any analysis or fiscal data for this amendment because it simply does not exist.
"This is the kind of hare-brained plan that could have been concocted on the back of a cocktail napkin at the last minute and unencumbered by the thought process. On the other hand, the governor's plan has been researched and debated since October, and has received overwhelming support.
"The current form of SJR 1 is moving forward to amend the Constitution without any research to back it up."
Currently, all property tax bills are public record. Anyone can look up how much a resident pays in property taxes. This proposal would allow everyone to know a family's income in a given year.
"That is a matter of privacy and should not be public record," said Rep. Borror.
SJR1 is a critical part of Gov. Mitch Daniels property tax plan. In its original form, the resolution would permanently limit the amount a taxpayer would be liable for on their property.
The original resolution would cap homestead property at 1 percent of its assessed value, 2 percent on all other residential property and 3 percent on all nonresidential property. This is an extension of the governor's property tax plan to allow the caps to become permanent. The governor's property tax plan would immediately institute the caps, but to ensure they are permanent, the Constitution must be amended.
To amend the Constitution, there must be a resolution passed by two separately elected General Assemblies, followed by a voter referendum in the next general election. If the resolution is passed this session and next, it would be on the 2010 general election ballot. If Hoosiers approve the referendum, the caps would become permanent in 2011.