"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Property owners, get out a calculator" says Niki Kelly of the Journal Gazette

Don't be discouraged. More plans are coming that are being initiated by The People and include experts from many fields. The article below should let you know that the politicians are playing a shell game with your money. They did the math and they know their plans will cost you more. Only trust the pro-repeal politicians who bring forth plans that cut spending, introduce spending caps, and create an environment of government accountablity to The People. -HFFT editors

Property owners, get out a calculator
By Niki Kelly

Can you afford a property tax cut?

Property taxes have been a hot topic for months, and now there are competing plans and proposals on the table to bring real reform to the system.

But here is my task for you: Become educated and consider how these options will affect your pocket book.

These plans are designed to be revenue neutral statewide, but they do create winners and losers.

Let me give you an example.
The governor’s plan calls for a 1 percentage point hike in the sales tax to help cover the cost of shifting several property tax levies to state control and ultimately dropping my property tax bill by one-third.

There are also future spending controls and caps, but these are hard to predict, so I am going to focus on the immediate results.

The property taxes on my modest home in high-tax Marion County would go down about $300.
So what would I pay under the sales tax increase?

To estimate this, I reviewed several months’ worth of household spending. I did not include trips to the grocery – though some items bought there are taxed – and instead added up spending on restaurant meals, gasoline, birthday gifts, furnace filters and more.

These are everyday items and don’t include large purchases such as a car or washer and dryer.
I came up with a monthly average and multiplied by 1 percent to find that the governor’s plan would cost me about $500 a year.

Obviously under this plan I am a net loser.

A plan put forth by a bipartisan tax panel promises a 50 percent cut in property taxes but would require an additional local income tax increase of between 0.6 and 0.7 percent to get there.

(The Marion County increase would be even higher, by the way.)
Even at half off my property tax bill, my husband and I would be net losers by more than $900.
Obviously there are winners out there under these plans – especially folks with fixed incomes and nice homes.

I’m not advocating for or against any proposal, which all have genuine merit. What I am advocating is that you do the math. Get past the rhetoric and figure out how you fare under these plans and how you want your tax dollars collected.

Maybe in the end you will decide reform is the necessary and right thing to do regardless of how you are personally affected. Maybe not.

But tell your lawmakers. They need all the information to make a wise decision.

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