Rep. Gutwein: A Sad Tax Day for Hoosiers

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Wednesday, April 15, 2009 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE - House Democrats ran out on permanent property tax relief today before the Caps Clock did, Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) said.

Today was the deadline for the third reading of bills in the House. House Democrats voted to adjourn until Monday. Unfortunately, Tax Day came and went without Hoosier taxpayers getting their wish for permanent constitutional property tax protection.

According to a poll taken earlier this month by Public Opinion Strategies, almost three-quarters of Hoosiers support the permanent constitutional property tax caps. Political leanings are irrelevant, the poll showed: 66 percent of Democrats support the caps, 72 percent of independents support them and more than 80 percent of Republicans would like the caps adopted.

"On a day millions of Americans are filling their taxes, you'd think that providing any relief possible would be at the top of the agenda," said Rep. Gutwein. 

"Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership's abrupt ending to tonight's proceedings squashed any hope for Hoosier taxpayers to vote on the caps, and for that I'm truly sorry."

Without permanent property tax caps, Hoosiers lose the stability and certainty of knowing their taxes have a limit. Businesses do not have the predictability they need to plan budgets. Local governments do not have the incentive to find money-saving efficiencies in their operations.

If the House had passed Senate Joint Resolution 1, already passed by a bipartisan majority of the Senate, Hoosier voters would have had the opportunity in 2010 to vote on whether to permanently include the caps in the Indiana Constitution. The property tax caps would limit bills to 1 percent of the property's assessed value for homesteads, 2 percent for residential rental property and farmland and 3 percent for other business property.

The House must complete its work before the April 29 statutory deadline.