Cap watch

September 24, 2008

Let’s keep our eye on the ball:

Only one of the three candidates for governor supports an amendment limiting residential property taxes to 1 percent of a home’s assessed value. Incumbent Republican Mitch Daniels, who pushed for the proposal during the last legislative session, will make it a priority of the next session, his senior policy adviser said last week. Democrat Jill Long Thompson and Libertarian Andrew Horning oppose the cap but for different reasons.

Long Thompson says we should wait to see how a cap works in practice before we set it in constitutional stone. But, as the writer points out, that might mean we’d never actually get the cap; there is already tremendous pressure from local officials to do away with it. Horning says politicians routinely “violate the constitution,” so, “Why amend what they flout?” Well, let’s just do away with the constitution altogether then.

There is also this observation:

Of candidates running for Indiana House and Senate, far more have opposed or taken no position on the cap than have committed to its enactment. A politician’s reluctance to embrace SJR1 suggests one thing and one thing only: He or she prefers the flexibility to tax and spend over permanent property tax protection for Hoosiers.

The amendment will survive only if the next session of the legislature approves exactly the same language as the last session did. Then it would go to the voters in a 2010 referendum. Guess we’ll find out if the legislators trust us or not.

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