STATEHOUSE (Jan. 10, 2008) - Indiana House Republicans have a simple plan for the 2008 session: Solve the property tax crisis. These standards for success lead to that solution.
"I'm happy we are working on the property tax issue," said Rep. Dick Dodge (R-Pleasant Lake) "Hopefully we can do some restructuring to make property taxes more fair and equitable."
Hoosiers across the state have been hammered by increased property taxes on their homes, and their incomes have not kept pace with the higher bills. Also draining their pocketbooks is government spending, some of it seemingly unchecked.
Relief, in the form of rebate checks, has come long after the bills were paid, and, in many instances, it hasn't arrived yet.
For years, Indiana has struggled with its new market-based assessment system, the result of a long court challenge to the previous system. Hoosier taxpayers have become increasingly frustrated with the process and the varied results they have seen so far, and they have let legislators know.
In public hearings, letters to the editor and through legislative surveys, people have made it clear that they do not believe the system is working in their best interests.
And if it is not working in the best interests of taxpayers, it is not working in the best interests of Indiana.
Gov. Mitch Daniels has proposed an innovative plan to restructure the property tax system, and it has impressed House Republicans. Daniels' plan is well-represented in the 2008 standards for success.
Here are the House Republicans' standards for success in 2008:
Immediate property tax cut by May 2008.
Strong state and local spending caps.
Permanent 1 percent of assessed valuation homestead cap.
Remove schools and welfare from property tax.
Make caps and levy removals permanent.
Referenda for local construction and budget increases.
School construction projects built on local option income tax.
Fund all cuts with sales tax alone.
Single assessment official in each county.
Permanent elimination of homestead property tax.