"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Will you take to the streets again or will you give up?

Your new bills are coming and none of this looks better than what we had a year ago. The question is, what are you going to do THIS time? You should start by voting out every single incumbent politician and casting votes for independent candidates and Libertarians. That is unless of course you still believe your two-party system is working for you. Here's a hint: they don't work for YOU, they work for their cronies, campaign funds, and lobbyists. - HFFT

March 26, 2008
Reassessment nails business properties
By Tim Evans and Jeff Swiatek

Marion County’s property reassessment, approved today by the state eight months after flawed 2007 bills unleashed a tax revolt, wasn’t sitting well with businesses or homeowners.
The redo shifted more of the tax burden to commercial and industrial properties, a change that business interests predicted could make Indianapolis less competitive in retaining and attracting employers.

And angry homeowners expecting significant relief from last summer’s bills aren’t likely to be satisfied with the less than 1 percent drop in residential assessments.It is too early to tell exactly how the new property values will affect 2007 tax bills.That’s because the assessments represent only the first step in recalculating bills Gov. Mitch Daniels threw out last summer because of concerns about the property values used to calculate them.

What’s nextThe county is expected to release the data for individual parcels in the next few days.

After that, county and state officials will recalculate tax rates, which will be used in conjunction with the new assessments to refigure bills.In general, as assessed values increase, tax rates drop, though state and county officials stressed it is impossible to tell the precise effect on individual parcels until the new rates are determined.Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes said it may be June before corrected 2007 bills hit mailboxes across the county.

Bowes said he expected the new assessments to result in decreases in some bills and increases in others, including those of some homeowners who saw bills double and even triple. State officials were more optimistic.

“It’s clear the initial assessment in Marion County was flawed, and business property was undervalued. We fully expect that many Marion County homeowners will have lower tax bills as a result of this reassessment,” said Ryan Kitchell, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Commercial values soar
One of the reasons Daniels ordered the do-over was the discovery that nearly three-quarters of commercial and industrial assessments had not changed from 2005 to 2006, even though those values were supposed to reflect changes in market values from 1999 to 2005.

The reassessment clearly addressed that problem, increasing commercial values by 32 percent, or $4.8 billion, while industrial values jumped 35 percent, or about $765 million. Overall, the reassessment pushed up the value of all property in the county 11 percent, or $5.6 billion.

Homeowners, who raised the biggest stink last summer over increases in their assessments and tax bills, will see the smallest change. The gross assessed value of residential property countywide dropped about $208 million, or less than 1 percent.

Under the new assessments, commercial and industrial land and buildings now account for 34.3.percent of the total assessed value, an increase of almost 20 percent.Conversely, residential property’s share of the total assessed value dropped by a little more than 10 percent, from 65.8 percent to 59 percent.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s director of taxation and public finance, Bill Waltz, said he’s not surprised by the increases, because the new values represent almost six years’ worth of appreciation in property values since the last assessment.

“Mass appraisals are a pretty tricky thing,” he said. “I’m sure they are getting a lot closer with this effort. You have to get the assessments right. That’s the starting point in a fair (tax) system.”The jump in business assessments “sounds bad,” he said, “but if those are right and we are getting assessments correct or more correct, then that’s fair for all taxpayers.”

Concerns about business
Others worried about driving businesses out of Marion County. Hamilton County’s growing office parks could gain a tax advantage over Indianapolis that would lead more of its businesses to flee to its northern neighbor, said Dan Richardson, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis’ local commercial brokerage office.

“I can see a price disparity coming between Hamilton County and Marion County. Historically, those property taxes were similar,” he said.

At the same time, a hike in property taxes figures to make Indianapolis commercial properties less profitable and less attractive to buyers in the investment market, said Andy Banister, a first vice president at CB Richard Ellis.

A bigger tax bite “starts eroding your income you get from the property. It will equate to a price reduction over time” in the property, he said.

The 34.7 percent average jump in assessed value for industrial properties “is very surprising. It’s much higher than we thought it would be,” said Mark Cahoon, vice president of public finance and economic development for the Indiana Manufacturers Association. Cahoon said such a large increase could lead to mass appeals by businesses of their assessments.

Less than pleased
Melyssa Donaghy, a Meridian-Kessler resident who organized several tax protests last summer, said she doesn’t expect the changes to appease many homeowners, either.

“Mark my words,” said Donaghy, “there are going to be a whole lot of mad people in Meridian-Kessler.”

Franklin Township Assessor Becky Williams questioned the validity of the new numbers, noting such a reassessment would normally take a year to 18 months. She, too, believes the new bills will lead to a huge number of costly and time-consuming appeals. “This whole thing has been a publicity stunt aimed at the governor’s goal of eliminating township assessors,” she said.

No comments: