"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

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

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tax Activist Laurie Klinger brings us SB 512 update

For all who are still interested in the property tax issue and cutting down government waste - wanted to inform you of the status of SB 512 - a bill originally intended to get rid of township government entirely, but which came out of the Senate watered down only to eliminate township boards - except in Marion County where board would remain in tact.

It is now in the House in the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. It has already had one reading. No schedule yet for a second reading. If you want to support the bill, here are some contacts for you:

In addition to your rep - John Day, H100@in.gov,

The members of the committee are:

Chairman Bartlett - H95@in.gov
V. Chairman Tyler - H34@in.gov
Members: Barnes H89@in.gov, Candelaria Reardon H12@in.gov, Harris H2@in.gov, Stemler H71@in.gov, Tincher H46@in.gov, Hinkle H92@in.gov, Neese H48@in.gov, Smith H59@in.gov. Steuerwald H40@in.gov, Wolkins H18@in.gov

In addition the bill is sponsored and co-sponsored/supported in the house by Democrats Stevenson H11@in.gov and Sullivan H97@in.gov and Republican Torr H39@in.gov

Sponsors/supporters in the Senate - Republicans - Sen. Lawson s30@in.gov and Sen. Lubbers s24@in.gov
opposer in the senate - Republican Sen. Kruse S14@in.gov

Here's an email Laurie Klinger sent:

Dear Senators and Representatives:

I live on the near east side of Indianapolis - a low income area- that has been hit hard by foreclosures. Many of our residents were blown away by the recent sudden increases in property taxes . It created fear and hardships - even for the well off. Some were forced to take out loans to pay them. Others talked about giving up their homes to foreclosure or moving. Even after the new 1,2 and 3 percent rules go into effect it is still beyond the means for some in our neighborhoods. I am involved in the NESCO Public Policy Committee which tackled the problems people were facing over property taxes. One solution there was unanimous agreement on was that the bi-partisan Kernan Shepherd report should be acted on. We need to streamline government to keep taxes down.

Township government is an archaic wasteful system - as demonstrated by the trustees. Recent Star articles graphically showed how corrupt and wasteful that system is. Sitting on millions, often while helping less than 5 people per year. Not being available when people need them, no uniform standards for who is eligible, costing as much as $1.69 in administration for every dollar spent while Family and Social Services manages on 7 cents per dollar. There is no good reason to keep this system in place other than political cronyism. It is not more efficient, more cost effective, more helpful or more fair than a centralized system would be.

Another example - small claims courts. Each township has different procedures and costs. Depending on where you live or own property, it can be a notoriously unfair way to seek justice - including poor service, costly and burdensome rules, and overpaid and inaccessible constables. Just ask any lawyer who does business in these courts. Small claims courts are long past due for reform - by streamlining service to create uniform standards and efficiencies, and replacing overpaid constables with regular law officers.

Please do everything you can to restore SB 512 to its original form - getting rid of township government, including trustees and small claims courts, and including in Marion County.

In these difficult economic times, holding on to such wasteful and obsolete government is inexcusable. I was disappointed in the performance of Senators who demonstrated an allegiance to party politics over doing what was in the best interest of their constituents. I hope you do better.

Thank you,

Laurie Klinger

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