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Big property tax decision ahead for voters

October 29, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS — Voters will be asked to decide on an important constitutional amendment in the upcoming election regarding property taxes. The Indiana Property Tax Cap Amendment will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.
The summary of the measure as it will appear on the ballot is as follows:
“Shall property taxes be limited for all classes of property by amending the Constitution of the State of Indiana to do the following:
(1) Limit a taxpayer’s annual property tax bill to the following percentages of gross assessed value:
(A) 1 percent for an owner-occupied primary residence (homestead);
(B) 2 percent for residential property, other than an owner-occupied primary residence, including apartments;
(C) 2 percent for agricultural land;
(D) 3 percent for other real property; and
(E) 3 percent for personal property.
The above percentages exclude any property taxes imposed after being approved by the voters in a referendum.
(2) Specify that the General Assembly may grant a property tax exemption in the form of a deduction or credit and exempt a mobile home used as a primary residence to the same extent as real property?”
If enacted by a simple majority of Indiana voters the measure will add property tax caps to the Indiana state constitution — in essence making current tax cap legislation previously enacted by the Indiana State Legislature permanent. The measure was introduced by Indiana Senators Patricia L. Miller (District 32), Luke Kenley (District 20) and Brandt Hershman (District 7).
The Indiana Constitution is one of the hardest in the country to amend requiring that a proposed amendment be approved by two successive sessions of the Indiana State Legislature with an intervening election. The tax cap amendment was first passed through the 2008 session of the legislature.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Stillman along with State Representative Bruce Borders (District 45) and Senator David Long (District 16) support the amendment. Stillman stated the measure, “…assures families their property taxes will be low and predictable forever.”
Opponents of the amendment include The Urban Schools Association, the Indiana Association of Counties, and the Indiana PTA, The Indiana Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Senators  James Lewis (District 45) and David Cheatham (District 69) have stated they will vote against the measure because they feel it is unconstitutional.

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