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Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan

As a proposal to speed up enactment of property tax caps in Indiana heads for a Statehouse conference committee, Bloomington’s mayor said he’s skeptical of the amendment.  Still, Democrat Mark Kruzan appears to be siding with some of his political opponents.

When Indianapolis Democrat William Crawford’s property tax amendment was passed by the full House, Republican Minority Leader Brian Bosma denounced the legislation as a smokescreen which served only to take attention away from Democrats’ resistance to vote for a constitutional amendment on the tax caps.  Bloomington mayor Mark Kruzan won’t go that far, but does suggest the move amounts to posturing…

“I think it’s an opportunity for some in the legislature to appear to be supporting property tax relief,” Kruzan said.  “I think it’s just a message back to the governor: you back off your proposal, we’ll back off ours.”

If that tax proposal does pass, it would throw Bloomington into a financial situation Kruzan thought he could avoid for another year.  He saidthe city has been saving to prepare for the final property tax caps, but admitted he doesn’t know just how much worse an immediate phase-in would be for the budget.

“We can tell you what it would have been this year,” he said.  “But we don’t know what the assessed valuation of all property will be.  We assume it will go up — it’s gone up — but there are those who believe with the economy and property values it could plummet.  It’s a big question mark.”

Kruzan said he thinks taxpayers deserve more credit for understanding the relationship between a rise in sales taxes to compensate for falling property taxes, but countered by saying both parties have made the issue harder to understand by trying to show they’re the ones in favor of tax cuts.

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