Representatives of three levels of state and local government all publicly stated their opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment which would place fixed limits on the rate at which property taxes can be levied.
At a forum hosted by the Bloomington Monroe County League of Women Voters, City Council President Isabel Piedmont-Smith, County Council President Geoff McKim, and District-40 State Senator Vi Simpson presented arguments against the tax cap amendment.
Simpson argued the measure would prevent legislators from responding to changes in economic conditions. She also claimed that such an amendment would constitutionally enshrine a similar untested statute.
“We will be one of a very few states that has language like this in its constitution.” said Simpson.
Councilman McKim said extensive limitations on property tax rates already exist. He also pointed to a number of potential difficulties which might arise as a result of the proposed tax caps.
“The impact of the percentage caps at this point is very, very small… of course the flip side of that is that the benefit for the home owners and property owners in Monroe County is correspondingly very, very small.” noted McKim. “To the point of being almost nonexistent.”
City Counselor Piedmont-Smith illustrated some of the difficulties faced by other communities as a result of existing tax cap legislation. She stated her belief that a constitution should be means of guaranteeing inalienable rights… rather than a tool in fiscal policy arguments.
“It is unconstitutional in the sense that a constitution should espouse principles.” said Piedmont-Smith
The proposed amendment will appear as a public question on the November 2nd ballot. The measure would create three separate tax limits based on property type. Rates for primary residences would be capped at 1-percent of total assessed value… secondary homes and agricultural land a 2-percent… and commercial property at 3-percent.
A recent WISH-TV poll places support for the amendment at 62-percent. Another poll commissioned by W-S-B-T found 53-percent of Indiana voters are in favor of the measure.
A complete recording of the forum can be found by clicking on the play button at the top of the screen.