Thursday, February 26, 2009

House Democrats Continue Assault On Property Tax Reforms

As I've stated before, the House Democrats under the leadership of House Speaker Pat Bauer are determined to undo the property tax reforms adopted by the General Assembly ahead of the 2008 elections to squash voter anger over burdensome property taxes. They say we don't need a constitutional amendment to make property tax caps permanent. And now they want to take away your right to vote at a referendum on proposals to borrow money for capital projects and levy higher property taxes to pay for the debt, which bypass the limits posed by the property tax caps. The Star's Bill Ruthhart reports on yesterday's party line vote:

The state's new voter referendums, aimed at giving Hoosiers the power over whether to raise taxes for publicly funded projects, would be tossed out the window under a bill approved by the Indiana House on Wednesday.

School and other public construction projects no longer would be subject to the referendums -- approved last year as part of sweeping taxpayer relief legislation -- as long as the buildings meet certain energy-efficiency standards.

House Democrats pushed for House Bill 1730, saying they wanted to remove the hurdles posed by referendums so that local school districts and governments can more quickly spend federal stimulus dollars on "green" projects.

But the bill makes no mention of federal stimulus money and would apply only to projects funded by property taxes. The bill's author later said he was open to amending the legislation so that it applies only to projects that receive money from the federal stimulus.

The House passed the bill on a 52-48 party-line vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate.

This is precisely the reason we need those property tax caps made permanent in our state constitution. The property tax reform law is barely a year old and they're already undoing it. The reason Democrats want to undo the law is very simple. They are bought and paid for by the teachers' unions, which want to make it as easy as possible to raise property taxes for schools. Notice that all four of Marion County's newly-elected members of the House of Representatives, John Barnes, Cherrish Pryor, Mary Ann Sullivan and Ed DeLaney, voted to take away your right to vote at a referendum on these tax issues. Barnes and Sullivan received more special interest money from the teachers' unions than any other special interest group. DeLaney, too, received significant financial support from the teachers' union.

In last year's election, Marion County residents living in IPS listened to the arguments and approved a referendum that will allow the school district to borrow money and raise taxes to fund several hundred million dollars worth of capital projects. It's not like voters collectively are incapable of making rational decisions. If you're not upset by the House Democrats' action yesterday to deny you the right to vote and decide these issues, then don't complain the next time you get a property tax bill with which you are unhappy.


M Theory said...

There is good reason the ISTA is across the street from the state house and connected to our legislators by a tunnel.

Patriot Paul said...

The same article has the comment from Bosma:

Why are our representatives so quick to sell out the laws they created last year. Did reform mean that little to them? Does the safeguard for voters to have a referendum mean so little that they hi-jack the voice of the people by stomping on the people who sent them there?
Whores sell themselves and we now know where 52 of them reside.

M Theory said...

Bosma wants us to have his back, yet did he ever have ours?

Hamilton County GOP said...

Paul, Gary,

I don't care what entrenched politicos say about you both, I am most grateful you are shining the garish light of truth on underhanded, taxpayer cheating, ruling elite that is driving Marion beyond the brink of bankruptcy.

We have something of the same problem here; however, at least our entrenched political ruling still have some amount of fiscal responsibility. Hopefully, they will not take a page out of the Marion County playbook.

Keep up the great reporting!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Hamilton County.

Hamilton County GOP said...

What has happened to representative government? I've followed your stories on the enormous mis-management of large capital projects like Lucas Oil, Circle Center Mall, Conseco Fieldhouse. I always thought to myself, "That's Indianapolis/Marion County leadership."

Reading today about how the Mayor of Carmel apparently mislead the Carmel City Counsel on the Keystone rebuilding project.

All I can think is that the contagion that infects Indianapolis Mayors, every incarnation of the City-County Counsel and the entrenched bureaucracy supporting has appeared in Hamilton County.

My questions to you both are, "Will the voters cut out the cancerous and apply copious amounts of treatment in the form spending limits, enhanced taxpayer controls, like referendums on big capital expenditures?" Or, will the voters just say, "Look, we got sports teams, sports palaces and really pretty road" and keep oinking for more?

I think it is way past time for another taxpayer uprising to keep our elected officials aware they are spending our money.