Friday, July 20, 2007

assessing the tax situation

despite some people's apparent belief that the property tax fiasco is a marion county problem, more counties are now reporting problems. tdw points out problems in northeast indiana. gary points to similar problems in lake county, concluding with this telling paragraph:

Dolan notes that a similar problem cropped up in Lake a couple of years ago and the state wrote the problems off, leaving it to Lake County officials to fix. "The same problems cropped up in Lake County two years ago but were written off by state authorities as the result of government inefficiency, local officials say." "Lake County headed off a similar tax revolt with a circuit breaker that caps an individual's property tax at 2 percent of the gross assessed value."

that sure sounds familiar. (true to form, gary's commenters immediately blame lake county officials.)

governor daniels ordered a new assessment in marion county after his would-be neighbors took to the streets to protest (as in, they would be his neighbors if he could be bothered to live in the governor's mansion). the reassessment might be a good idea, as there were certainly problems with the old assessment (though it creates a number of new technical problems). will the guv follow suit and order new assessments in lake, wabash, whitney, and any other county struck by large tax increases? if he doesn't, he risks sending a message to the rest of the state that he only cares about indianapolis... which is not a good message to send if he wants to be reelected next year.

meanwhile, i think my brain exploded when i read this passage in today's star editorial fellating the guv for finally taking action:

An increase in the income tax for county residents also needs to be revisited. Is there a way to phase in the tax over several years to cover police pensions? Our hope is that Mayor Bart Peterson follows the governor's lead to address issues from the perspective of taxpayers.

not an unreasonable suggestion... until you remember that mayor peterson already suggested raising the county income tax, and that just three days ago, the star attacked that plan as part of a "tax tsunami" caused by corrupt county officials. so on tuesday it was a bad idea that bart should be blamed for; on friday it's a good idea that bart should look into.

doug remains one of the best commentators on this subject, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that he doesn't live anywhere near marion county. and doghouse riley, possibly the best writer in the hoosier blogosphere (despite the fact that he doesn't use nearly enough links), has also been doing a bang-up job. the indy star's news division has also been covering the story as well, though the editorial page should probably be avoided, as they're obviously pretty confused about this topic.

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