"When we began this process some months ago, I established for myself - and shared with my constituents - the criteria I would use in evaluating any property tax reform plan. I wanted to make sure that in whatever we did, we avoided the failures of past efforts to reform the system.
"In addition to providing an immediate 25-percent average property tax cut for homeowners, even more relief through 2010, and permanently limiting future property taxes, this plan, the largest property tax cut in Indiana history, is different from past Band-Aid efforts in, among others, the following respects:
· It's not simply a tax shift, as it provides more than dollar-for-dollar relief ($1.70 relief per dollar).
· It ensures permanency of the relief by removing seven entire levies from property taxes.
· It institutes strong local spending controls.
· It empowers voters to speak on how their property taxes are spent by requiring a referendum on major construction projects.
· It brings fairness, accuracy and uniformity to the assessment process.
· Coupled with SJR 1, it makes the property tax caps permanent.
"These elements are key to not repeating the mistakes of the past as we provide immediate, substantial, and permanent property tax relief. According to projections made by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, property taxes for the average Hoosier homeowner will decrease 30.4 percent by 2010. The cuts for the four counties I represent will exceed the state average and are as follows: