STATEHOUSE - House Republicans today challenged every House Democrat to call on Speaker Pat Bauer to allow a vote on permanent tax caps this session.
As members of the House Republican Caucus gathered in front of the Caps Clock counting down the time left to act on Senate Joint Resolution 1 this session, Rep. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven) urged Democrat representatives to join Republicans in signing a petition supporting an immediate vote on the tax cap resolution.
"We are calling on Speaker Bauer to vote on SJR 1," Rep. Pond said. "We have promised the taxpayers protection on their property taxes with the caps. For whatever reason, the Democrats don't think it is important to protect Hoosier taxpayers."
On display with the House Republicans were several large pledge cards with signatures of House members who support an immediate vote on SJR 1.
Senate Joint Resolution 1 contains the constitutional amendment permanently capping homeowners' property taxes at 1 percent of assessed value. Both houses of the General Assembly passed SJR 1 last session, and the Senate, with bipartisan support, already passed it this session. Speaker Bauer has declared the caps dead this session over the strenuous objection of House Republicans and many Hoosier taxpayers.
The permanent caps would limit property tax bills to 1 percent of the property's assessed value for homesteads, 2 percent for residential rental property and farmland and 3 percent for business property. To become part of the Indiana Constitution, an amendment must be passed by two consecutive, separately elected sessions of the General Assembly and by Hoosier voters in the next general election. If the House passes SJR 1, Hoosier voters would have the opportunity to vote on it in 2010.
"Speaker Bauer is ignoring Hoosier property owners and ignoring their desire to see SJR 1 pass," Rep. Pond said. "In these times, we must offer assurance to property owners that their property taxes will not become even more burdensome."