Just over a month ago, Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) joined fellow members of the Indiana House as they announced their plan for the 2008 session: immediately cut and permanently cap property taxes. As some back away from constitutional protection for homeowners and announce that immediate relief is not probable, Rep. Dermody reiterated his commitment to Hoosier property tax-payers.
"Taxpayers are sick of the politics that have begun to define this session," Rep. Dermody stated. "Hoosiers sent a clear message to the legislature this session: cut property taxes. This has always been, and continues to be, my highest priority. I call on all of my House colleagues to put aside partisan wrangling in favor of true property tax reform."
Senate Joint Resolution 1, the measure that contains constitutional property tax caps, passed out of the influential House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday afternoon. Amendments to SJR 1 effectively gut property tax caps as originally proposed, and base the tax caps on income-based property tax rates.
"I am extremely disappointed with recent changes made to SJR 1," Rep. Dermody said. "There is no evidence that the amendment provides any fiscal relief for property tax payers. Additionally, local governments could be hurt, negatively affecting the level of service Hoosiers have come to expect from their communities. Property tax caps could prove to be meaningless because of this amendment. I am committed to returning concrete property tax relief to the measure, and I am hopeful my House colleagues will join me.
"Unfortunately I may be forced to vote 'Yes' on this modified amendment, despite the objections I have with setting property taxes based on income. This is simply because SJR 1 is the only opportunity the legislature has to provide long-term and permanent property tax relief through a constitutional amendment. If the measure does move forward as it currently stands, I commit to dedicating the final weeks of session to removing this poor-conceived and unnecessary addition to SJR 1."
SJR 1 will now be considered by the full House.