(With apologies to Will Rogers, who at least knew where he stood).
The Star's Editor trusts you -- to cut your own throat. Yes, once again, the man who makes public opinion moldy (wait, wait, have I misunderstood?) is out to show us ill-educated bucolics the True Way, this time when it comes to Indiana's proposed Constitutional amendment capping property tax rates.
Yes, that's right, the local paper takes a middling-dim view of one of the best ideas to have come out of Governor Mitch Daniels' office, a freeze on what percentage of the assessed value of your house and land can be taken from you in taxes (with a couple of loopholes: first of all, the assessed valuation of your home can and will change. Teh Gummint determines "market value" every few years; this isn't sufficiently granular to track real-estate price trends and assessors appear to lay a thumb on the scales in subtle ways. Second, per the last hard info I have seen, there are holes in the cap for school funding). Nope, The [Red] Star lurves the notion of ever-increasing taxes* on our land and homes adding to the pressure already created by the collapse of the housing market. Why should Granny get to keep that (paid-for) rambling old house anyway? Some nice young go-getting couple could snap it up for a song and fix it up, while she moves into the third fridge box from the left in the alley: the bank's happy, the shiny-pretty-people are happy and there's one less dusty oldster in the way of Progress(ives)!
But let's see how wise heads frame the question: "Will the electorate make an informed, rational decision? Or will voters indulge in a reflexive jab against property taxes, regardless of the consequences?" Can the Red Leveller prevail? Tune in next week, and don't forget to drink your EugeneVDebstine! Oh, sorry, I got caught up in the moment.
Credit where credit's due; Mr. Editor notes several positive effects of the cap as presently applied, despite fretting over possible "damage to essential services." He's concerned, though, that we would be "cluttering the state constitution with specific tax policy. " Yes, clutter; clutter like, "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken." or perhaps, "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State." Why, that's just crazy!
At this writing, odds look good for the Property Tax Rate Cap to show up on our ballots this November. Vote for it; us eeeeebil reflexive sticks-in-the-mud are unlikely to get a second chance.
* How bad are these taxes? We pay them in (or out?) arrears; it took me just under two years to get my various exemptions and until that time, I was paying nearly three times as much in real-estate taxes every year as I paid for my car. I don't have much of a car and now you know why.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago