Chesterton Tribune

In defense of stronger circuit breaker law

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Voice of the People

In 2006, the Indiana legislature in an attempt to stop the increasing rate of property taxes, passed a limit on the amount local property owners could be forced to pay in property taxes. Under this cap, no property owner will pay more than 2 percent of the value of the property.

This was a good piece of legislation in forcing local governments to live within their means.

Fast forward to the year 2007 and this past session of the Indiana legislature. Our local representatives and senators had an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to protect the local taxpayer, but they blew it. They caved in to the lobbyists and refused to govern within their means.

One of the exceptions they made was to exempt the local schools’ general fund from the 2 percent cap. At least half, if not more, of all property taxes go to support local schools. If you take the schools’ general fund portion of the property tax bill out from under the 2 percent cap, property taxes can skyrocket. They also made other exceptions on the 2 percent cap.

Another loophole they put in the 2 percent cap is to allow local taxing units who feel they do not have enough money to operate to appeal to go outside the 2 percent cap. They created a board for these appeals to go to and many of the people appointed to the board are from groups that do not agree with the 2 percent limit.

For example, a representative of the Indiana Association of Counties and the Indiana Association of School Superintendents will be on that board.

If the legislature is serious about protecting property owners in reducing property taxes, they will maintain or lower the 2 percent cap.

Robert Harper

Porter County Commissioner

 

Posted 5/14/2007