"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Governor asks citizens for help with tax policy reform

The Governor created a commission to seriously study the layered bureaucracy of state government with the goal to reduce our tax burden. The commission provided a forum through which we can submit policy suggestions. This link takes you to a document which explains tax levies and increases.

The purpose of the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Local Government Reform (hereafter The Commission) is to develop recommendations to reform and restructure local government in Indiana in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations and reduce its costs to Hoosier taxpayers.

Indiana currently has about 2,730 local units of government with the authority to levy property taxes. This includes 92 counties, 1,008 townships, 117 cities, 450 towns, and 293 school corporations. Only 9 states in the country have more. To govern all of these units, Indiana elects an estimated 10,746 officials – including 1,100 with responsibility for property tax assessment.

Only 11 states have more than Indiana’s 92 counties. Many states that are much bigger geographically and demographically (including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York) have substantially fewer counties and thus county governments. Only 18 states have more school districts. Indiana school districts range in size from more than 30,000 to fewer than 200 students, with 52 districts having fewer than 1,000 pupils. Only 13 states have more library districts. 31 states have no township government, and of the 19 states that do, only 8 have more than Indiana’s 1,008 townships.

For its size and population, Indiana has far too much local government. The structure and organization of local government in the Hoosier state has remained fundamentally unchanged since the mid-19th Century, the time of the adoption of the state’s second constitution. Despite the enormous economic, social, and technological changes that have occurred since that time, Indiana’s system of local government would still be very recognizable to Hoosiers from the Civil War era of our history.

As a result of this “layering” of local government, a typical Hoosier pays property taxes to at least five different taxing units, and often many more. Some of these “levies” (the technical term for the share of local government spending paid by property taxes) are capped by state law and can only grow at a fixed rate per year. But other levies are not capped, and these have grown and will continue to grow in an unregulated and rapid manner. The overall result is that, during the past 20 years, property taxes have increased at more than twice the rate of inflation and tax base growth. Since levies have grown faster than the tax base, the result is increased property tax rates and a growing property tax burden for Hoosier citizens.

The Commission on local government reform website provides access for citizen activists to submit policy reform suggestions. These are the questions that the commission is charged to answer:

1. What local government offices might be eliminated to achieve efficiences and cost savings for Hoosier taxpayers? In specific, should township/county property tax assessors be abolished in favor of a uniform process managed by the state?

2. What local units of government (including schools and libraries) might be succe4ssfully consolidated to reduce overhead and administrative expenses?

3. What services of functions of local government might be reduced, eliminated, or provided in new ways to achieve savings for Hoosier taxpayers?

4. What constitutional, statutory, administrative, or other charges are necessary to achieve significant reforms in the structure and organization of Indiana state government.

If you want to publish your suggestions after you submit them to the Governor's commission, you can add them to our comments section and they'll become a public record and should fodder some debate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are twenty ways to CUT residential property taxes (RPT):

1. Mandatory IN 36-7-4-1300 IMPACT FEES on NEW CONSTRUCTION. Pay the fee in the mortgage over 15 to 30 years. Growth states such as California, Florida and Georgia collect impact fees to pay for new schools and infrastructure. New construction does not pay additional property taxes in Indiana for approximately two years.

2. Mandatory SALES TAX on NEW CONSTRUCTION. Central Indiana is the #1 most affordable housing market in the USA with five years of record-breaking sales up to 2006.


4. Use ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCOME TAXES (EDIT) to offset residential property taxes. Tax revenue raised by EDIT that is given to businesses increased local income taxes by 250% in Hendricks County while growth and corporate welfare have caused residential property taxes to increase 350%.

5. Increase DIESEL FUEL TAXES, LICENSES, TOLLS and WHEEL TAXES on large, heavy trucks that destroy our roads and bridges; therefore NO property tax revenue necessary to be used for transportation infrastructure. NO privatization of toll roads needed that would be a financial burden on your children and grandchildren.

6. Elimination of TAX ABATEMENTS for retail and warehouses paying low wages whose employees (some who are illegal aliens) do not provide sufficient taxes for government services such as education, police & fire and infrastructure but do require taxpayer paid Medicaid, rent subsidies, energy assistance, food stamps, education and illegal alien law enforcement. Illegals receive these tax paid benefits.

7. Elimination of TAX INCREMENT FINANCING (TIF) and SALES TAX INCREMENT FINANCING (STIF) that deprive schools, police & fire, road & bridge repair, water & sewer upgrades, libraries and other essential government services from needed tax revenue.

8. Elimination of TIF RECOVERY on the residential property tax bills that pay for business tax cuts. This is a double tax on homeowners.

9. Elimination of ALL CORPORATE WELFARE such as SINGLE FACTOR SALES APPORTIONMENT, TAX CREDITS, TAX GRANTS, TRAINING GRANTS and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCOME TAXES (EDIT) on family income. The best corporate welfare has only moved lower (40% less) paying Honda/Toyota jobs into Indiana to replace higher paid GM/Ford/Chrysler jobs that include better benefits. Since 1997, auto sales in the USA have averaged approximately 17 million each year. Therefore, more auto sales or jobs are not being created; and Indiana citizens' standard of living is decreasing.

10. Eliminate NON-PROFIT STATUS for institutions that do not pay property taxes such as medical care that is bankrupting American families and foreclosing on their homes because it is 16% of GDP and rising fast.

11. Use the Innkeeper tax (hotel/motel taxes), food/beverage tax and car rental tax to pay for parks, water, sewer and road repairs that tourists and guests use when they visit our state or your county instead of multi-million dollar sport facilities and private business marketing/sales expenses.

12. STOP development costs and business taxes from being SHIFTED to residential property taxpayers, to low & middle class income taxpayers and to sales taxpayers. Home Town Matters will only accelerate this shift of taxes.

13. Say NO to NEW, high density, cheap, small ground floor, vinyl housing that reduces present property values. A $250000 home is required to pay property taxes for essential government services.

14. Read the "Great American Jobs Scam, Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation" book by Greg LeRoy available at http://www.greatamericanjobsscam.com, the Indiana government library in Indianapolis or your local library.

15. NO NFL tax breaks or using taxpayers’ money to pay for the Super Bowl. Use these tax savings to cut RPT.

16. Indiana has a “brain drain” problem. NO full-day kindergarten, taxpayer paid textbooks or selling/leasing the lottery are needed. Use surplus taxes to cut RPT.

17. NO $27 million tax subsidy to horse racing or the film industry. Use subsidies to cut RPT.

18. Increase taxes on tobacco, alcohol, gas guzzling vehicles and luxury goods and services. Use these taxes to cut RPT and fund medical/health insurance for the uninsured.

19. Use the 20% increase in sales taxes and gasoline taxes enacted a few years ago to cut RPT instead of cutting business property taxes. My RPT increased 19% the following year.

20. Repeal the $9000 pay increase that is automatically adjusted for inflation that the Indiana State General Assembly recently voted for themselves. Use the tax savings to cut RPT.

Contact the Governor, General Assembly state politicians and county & town politicians TODAY!

Brent Pittman 6593 Donnelly Dr. Brownsburg 46112 317-852-4470