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THERE’S ANOTHER DISASTER COMING!!!

If you thought the floods and rains that hit south central Indiana were bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Marion County lawmakers got a briefing tonight on the property reconciliation bills that are going out this week and when it’s all said and done homeowners will wish their property was under 10 feet of water.

According to one lawmaker, “this is not going to be pretty.”

The briefing was conducted by Marion County Treasurer Mike Rodman. Residents will see very little, if any relief in most cases.

The lawmaker, who asked not to be identified said, “the people who were the most vocal last summer will be the ones who see the least amount of relief.”

And to add insult to injury, only one-third of Marion County residents pay their property taxes through escrow, the rest just pay their bills as they get them in the mail.

200,000 reconciliation bills went out today. The rest will go out later in the week. And because of state lawmakers, you won’t get your rebate check until AFTER you get your bill.

One section of Marion County that saw 90 percent increases in their bills will now see 70 percent.

It also appears the two largest culprits for the tax increases are schools and the failure of local lawmakers to phase in a replacement of the inventory tax.

And just to add insult to injury, I’m told the township assessors did not fully comply with the Department of Local Government and Finance Rules so the property tax bills which are slated to come out in October and December will also be estimates so there will be another reconciliation bill waiting for you next year.

More details are yet to come, but from I understand this going to get real ugly real quick.

Someone may want to declare Marion County a disaster area now because the tax relief that came out of the 2008 General Assembly won’t show up until the next bill.

  • Jerry

    90% down only to 70% Two reconciliation bills? Will there be a second uprise?

    Despite the traffic, I love Hamilton County.

  • arnie

    Well thanks for the relief Mitch.

  • http://infredheads.blogspot.com Joel

    I don’t believe that any of the property tax relief measures have any impact on this bill. The tax relief is for the next set of bills.

  • Anonymous Nobody

    Thanks, School Boards. Thanks, Jim Schellinger.

  • Think Again

    Anonymous Nobody hit a home run.

    This is THE final nail in the coffin of township government. Assessors will be gone–and if there’s any luck, so will the trustees, just for good measure.

    Something good has to come form all this.

  • patriot paul

    Abdul, thank you for being on the cutting edge of this continuing saga. Those who took solace by legislators’ touting of artificial and so called ‘immediate’ relief for Hoosiers will feel betrayed. Wait til the Homestead credit erodes away. Have you ever seen any other subject besides property taxes invade our homes, businesses, and farms year after year with failed efforts to fix it. You cannot fix the unfixable. Let’s face it. Our legislators are simply the receipients of a beauty contest; not economists or full time employees who know how to budget anything. They have become pawns of lobbyists. If they all failed to show up for work, would anyone miss them?

  • http://indianapolsnewgoverment2008.blogspot.com/ David Myers

    I have been telling you this very same thing for a year now and no one would pay attention.

    The make up bills will be hard hit. The next two years will be high untill the 1% cap kicks in. The property tax “relief” package is a good deal, but they sneaked in that it takes 3 years to get there. With the one percent cap, I will be paying a little less then I did in 2006 when it kicks in. But I will be paying the 1% sales tax for 3 years before this. That only leaves you with the time that they raise your assessments on your property to meet the next property tax raise. This is not news to me.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    I’m also not an ecomomist or accountant. I’m befuddled and not sure what the answer is. I know we have to spend less money across-the-board (perhaps short of public safety), have a tax system that features accountability, transparency, and as much simplicity as possible, get lobbyist reform out of committee (blame Senator Riegsecker-Goshen), and stop building sports pantheons. We have to reach a better sense of fairness than feeling a wheel’s being spun in a back room to figure our tax bill. Maybe what’s in-play needs more time to settle down, maybe more tweaking, or we should indeed thrown it out. Maybe it’s a net gain to have full time legislators. I’ll try to shut-up and listen.

  • Think Again

    The fulltime/part-time argument comes up often. We will not solve it here…but we can debate it. SOmebody needs to.

    I’ve watched the legislature up-close and often over the last 30 years. Out of 150 members, there are maybe 15-20 who could read an Annual Stockholder Report without tutoring. It’s always been a dumping ground for folks who can con the local electorate, without regard to their overall ability.

    It’s a bipartisan thing, and it’s not limited to folks with college degrees, so don’t think I’m doing an Obama “bitter” thing.

    The Speaker has at least two degrees that I know of. He’s one of the best political street fighters in Indiana history. He’s mean when he wakes up, and he gets grouchier by the hour. But that does not mean he has the gravitas to be Speaker.

    On balance (and I never thought I’d say this, because I’m a firm Constitutionalist), I’d favor one of two things: a fulltime legislature, or term limits.

    The job just cannot be handled by part-time goofs any more. Goofs who stay for 20-40 years. The longer they stay, the less-bold they get…the more they like the attention of fawning lobbyists, who are regulated by: you guessed it, the legislators themselves. We’re all paying for it, and we have to re-learn history every 30-40 years.

    Evidence? Daniels is now touting Gov. Bowen’s 1973 tax package (via-a-vis the Daniels tax package is the first meaningful reform since Bowen’s). But that 1973 package gave us: a doubled state sales tax, with proceeds going to the (new) Property Tax Replacement Fund. That brilliant idea began the sugar teat for legislators to constantly claim they were “helping” with our local property taxes, via redirected sales tax revenue.

    It wasn’t smart then, but we put up with it for almost four decades. Now our institutional memory condones it.

    Shameful, sorrowful and expensive.

    The sales tax before Bowen’s miracle? Two cents. Read it and weep.

  • Anonymous

    I, too, have dealt with the legislature in different capacities for about 30 years. A full time legislature only means the part time goofs are there making mischief year-round. Term limits only empowers full time partisan staffs.

    A better answer is a redistricting commission. Take away a legislator’s ability to effectively choose his/her constituents. This would sharply reduce the number of “guaranteed” seats and put both houses of the legislature in play every election. As for the chairmen and leaders who hold their jobs forever, term limit those jobs.

  • Becky

    Abdul, just what rules didn’t the township assessors fully comply with?

  • Angry Mob

    Guess voters will figure out that the politician’s property tax “fix” was actually a tax increase before the November elections.

    Sales tax increase, local option income tax increase, and now little if any property tax relief.

    This is going to be really ugly.

  • Pine Rider

    With exception of Center Township and may be one other Democrat controlled assessor’s office, the Marion County Township Assessors have done a decent if not admirable job.

    I agree with Anon 9:08. Full-time means full time goofs. Redistricting commission is an excellent idea.

    The key is controlling school spending and spending overall.

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    The root expenditure to come out of the property taxes are the schools. In any given county, anywhere from 50-70% of the property tax dollars go to the schools.

    There were many reports about the IPS graduation rates, being around 25%. This means that we are dedicating huge amounts of money to the schools, which the recipients are REJECTING.

    Maybe this is the right time to begin questioning the wisdom of education being publicly funded. If the recipients are rejecting it, and the people are crushed by the burden of paying for what is being rejected, then what in the hell are we doing? Are we just stupid?

  • Red Headed Step-Child

    This is the reason that they built the State House of non-combustible materials.

  • http://hoosiersforfairtaxation.blogspot.com/2008/06/gallup-republican-president-george-bush.html Melyssa

    And we paid how much for the reassessments?
    .
    This is again more proof that the property tax system is broken.
    .
    Hoosiers For Fair Taxation told you this would happen. The people let those legislators walk all over them.
    .
    The senate pushed property tax repeal to a summer study session.
    .
    10,000 people on the state house lawn for several protests running through next years long general assembly session would get the job done.
    .
    Will people come out in the heat and the freezing cold? Will they endure the personal discomfort and the extra demands on their time to force lawmakers to abolish property tax?
    .
    That’s the question.

  • http://hoosiersforfairtaxation.blogspot.com/2008/06/gallup-republican-president-george-bush.html Melyssa

    Citizens need to be strong arming those legislators in the summer study session of property tax repeal.

  • http://www.citizensforeducation.org Jack Werner

    The article states that one of the culprits are area schools…surprize! In the recent school board election in Washington Twp citizens through their informed or uninformed votes or through their indifference and apathy voted for more of the same…hold on to your wallet!

  • John Howard

    Nothing was really fixed by the legislature, but one thing was broken – our backs. Well, two things – the other was their promise for relief.

    I can’t wait to learn how much my assessment goes up during the next 2 years as the ‘cap’ phases in. I expect the cap will be made of Spandex and stretch considerably as our government gets fatter.

  • Red Headed Step-Child

    Jack is right. The folks in Washington Township just voted themselves a $136 Million tax increase.

    What did Carlin say? “Scientists have discovered the cure for ignorance and apathy. Unfortunately, no one knows about it and, nobody cares.”

    The number of incumbents left standing in the primary proves it.

  • Had Enough Yet?

    I’m not surprised that no one on this site is putting any blame on Col. Ballard. He should have known that this was coming and he should have been fighting tooth and nail each and every second of the legislative session to fix this mess before it happened. What did he do? Absolutely nothing. Why aren’t any of you calling for his recall or impeachment? Last year, the same people who are now blaming schools for property taxes, laid all of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Bart Peterson. But now that we are in an even worse situation, noone blames the current Mayor? That sure seems fishy to me. Apparently, it wasn’t Bart Peterson’s fault, rather all of those so called “Patriots” were just looking for a way to get rid of him and a political golden egg landed in their lap courtesy of Gov. Shorty. Sure, Ballard got the state to pick up pensions, but you have to also take into account the dirty little secret that no one from the administration is talking about. That pension “relief” came with an equal deduction in the levy. Tat menas he pension $$ are lost to the City. That revenue isn’t going to be freed up to pay for local needs, such as public safety. That levy is gone, so any new public safety or other local needs can only be met with budget slashing (and let me tell you, as the Col. has found out, there just isn’t that much fat to slash) or tax increases. Have fun with that one, Patriots!

  • Greg

    On the bright side, there is decreasing smoke and fewer mirrors for our so called legislators to play with. Most of the slack in the system has been taken up. It is now time for real leaders to step forward and get this right. When political hacks (yes, I refer to the likes of Bauer et al.) are the ones who make key decisions for us, then we are doomed. Their mismanagement and political agendas have been covered in the past. There is little to no cover left. We the people own this problem, and through our votes, we the people can put legislators in office who want to serve us, the people, and not their own personal agendas (power). This did not happen over night. We must look inside the legislature and cull out those who have been there for the past 12 or so years. They have failed us.

  • http://edangleton@edangleton.com Ed

    If weren’t for the damage it would do to the doors themselves, I would suggest nailing our property tax bills to the Statehouse doors ala’ Martin Luther. But since I will not advocate any illeagal act (vandalism) another form of protest is needed, say getting an old scrap door and nailing our tax bills to it, followed by placing it at the statehouse as a symbolic gesture.

  • http://hoosiersforfairtaxation.blogspot.com/2008/06/gallup-republican-president-george-bush.html Melyssa

    4th of July Rally at Governor’s Mansion….again. See HFFT blog for details.

  • Dave

    Using HB1001 logic (formerly known as the Governor’s Plan, now HEA1001 or?) to provide flood relief; the state should study the problem in summer session, vote to send flood “relief” in 2009 or 2010, blame local first responders for the poor planning which is overseen and created by the state, and send “relief” in the form of state sponsored condemnation teams who could lay claim to affected properties and sell them for pennies on the dollar to speculators and investors. That’s good government and good policy, right?

    A friend recently commented on the state of socialism, in Indiana and our country; “It turns out that the monster in the closet is real (socialism), I just had to become an adult to realize it,” he said.

    Repeal was last summer’s low hanging fruit, easier to find with one’s feet on the ground… “And then,” someone in the future will say, “Indiana was down to eight representatives in the US Congress.”

  • Becky

    Good Job Dave! I see you have a grasp of the problem!!!!! Just call me a “first responder.”

  • Think Again

    Can we please stop the Socialism arguments? Study up–this is nowhere near socialism.

    It IS stupidity, but…we voted for ’em.

    A citizen redistricting commission can work. ANYthing except the current system can work. Take a look at the Indy CC Council districts:

    At last (2003)redistricting, controlled by Republicans, Dems fought, it went to court, and, in a shocker, Judge Cale Bradford, whose brother was running for council as a Republican, said the maps and ballot placement were fine.

    The ink wasn’t dry on his decision until the Court of Appeals slapped him real hard–read that opinion if you want a primer in Courts 101.

    And Bradford’s reward? He’s now on the Court of Appeals, thanks to Mitch. You protect your brother in a blatantly partisan, wrong-headed decision, and this is how you’re rewarded. Freaking amazing.

    But I digress. The appeals court demanded that a judicial panel redo the CCC district lines. They did, in about two weeks, using simple mapping software that cost $400. And guess what? Instead of 18 of 25 being safe Republican, the council switched was 14-11 Republican on the district side. (Dems won control because they won all 4 at large seats, or 15-14 overall)

    And last year, voters, narrowly, reversed that.

    Given proper districts, with decent boundaries and as close-to-equal splits as possible, we can have better government.

    In short: incumbents should have zippo to do with creating the districts in which they run.

    (Stepping off soapbox)
    (going to dinner)

  • Jacob

    Instead of posting to blogs, just don’t pay. Are you willing to do that?

  • Jerry

    I don’t think Mike Kole’s comment can be dismissed as an empty socialism argument Think Again.

  • Jon G

    David Meyers. Oh, there has been a group of us who have paid attention from the start. And some of the other posters are right about one thing…..why are there incumbents still around? That’s exacltly why I say-

    REMEMBER NOVEMBER

    Lets start it all over again and get the bums oughta there!!

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Whatever your guvmit is, or you want to call it, if production loses to consumption too long- you’re going down. I’m approaching not caring about having a democratic republic as much as being afloat economically. I think we’ll always have the good, the lazy and the preying. Somebody tell me what form of gov’t has the best historical track record for rooting-out the lazy and the preyers, and I’ll bet they fared ok economically. I have a hunch that heterogeneous captialistic democratic republics are not leading historical success stories.

  • StatlernWaldorf

    Let me be the first on this thread to call taxpayers to action in Decatur Township. They want $17million more for the high school project, all the while cutting education (true education) programs.
    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckForum&plckForumPage=ForumDiscussion&plckDiscussionId=Cat%3a29075c98-f3da-4ba5-b7eb-bca8405169d3Forum%3ae62b19e7-c66a-4c33-8cad-0cb64c00c8d1Discussion%3a4f34072b-571a-44f7-ad58-946b6e7bb59c&plckCategoryCurrentPage=0

  • StatlernWaldorf

    P.S. Sorry for the long link. Pluck has screwed the links to the Star forums.

  • Democrat

    House ways and means chairman William Crawford, Dem,in District 98 needs to go. He has been in office too, too, long. A high school dropout supporting township governemnt. Specifically, Center township trustee Carl Drummer who has a $11 million surplus in the bank and turning way citizens needing poor relief assistance.
    In November, he must go.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Abdul- how about a programming segment on Property Taxes 101, covering big picture where we were pre-July last year to now. I’m overwhelmed with assessment theory, reconcilliation X vs Y, & all the players pointing fingers at each other. I bet I’m not the only one.

  • Shorebreak

    To add to the last post, how about preceding the big picture coverage with an historical account of property taxes in Indiana – along the lines of Think Again’s June 10th, 2008 at 8:37 am post.