For weeks now, opponents of making property tax caps permanent have claimed we need to hold off on writing the caps into the state constitution until we know how they will affect local governments. Under the property tax reform bill we passed in 2008, the property tax caps were to be phased in gradually to give local governments time to adjust to reduced revenue.
But in a very strange move last week, the House majority caucus offered an amendment that would speed up the phase-in, making the full 1-, 2- and 3-percent property tax caps effective one year early.
I voted for the amendment, because it would provide taxpayers with over $200 million in property tax relief immediately. Yet, I have to question House Democrats' reasoning behind the amendment, especially considering that they still express no desire to pass Senate Joint Resolution 1 to let voters decide whether to make these caps permanent.
It's become painfully clear that the House majority has no intention of fulfilling the promise made to Hoosier taxpayers last year, when a bipartisan promise was made to cut property taxes now and cap them forever.
And while I support this amendment to save taxpayers money now, it would have been a smarter more to advance SJR 1 this year instead. Why, you ask?
First, because of the promise we made last year. The general assembly raised your sales tax a full percent with the promise of making the caps permanent, but has yet to make good on its end of the bargain.
Next, because it's easy to see how easy it is to change a law. Just look at how easily we sped up the phase-in process. Look at the way the House majority has already tried to create loopholes in the property tax caps and the voter referenda processes we made law just last year.
Passing SJR 1 - and passing it as quickly as possible - will save you more money and will protect you from out-of-control property tax bills and a money-grubbing, growing government.
So what's the logic behind this amendment to speed up the phase-in? I can't figure it out myself.
Seems to me if the caps are important enough to speed up, they're important enough to make permanent. And now!