By Andrew RobbinsCSMS Magazine Staff WriterMillions of taxpayer dollars are utilized to force annexation upon Indiana citizens. The main Hamilton County culprits annexing and forcing property taxes higher are the municipalities of Carmel and Fishers. In their quest to expand their tax coffers and finance their never-ending expansion, both towns have engaged in strong-arm tactics. Without the approval of the Indiana General Assembly municipalities would not have the authority to involuntarily annex property. Only a handful of state legislatures (Idaho, Indiana, North Carolina, and Oregon) have sold out their citizens and granted town boards the authority to involuntarily annex property and levy additional taxes. A candid and highly respected Indiana State Senator told me, “The Indiana legislature is like a closed club. Traditionally, we take care of state business and the municipalities do their own thing. There exists an ‘old-boys agreement’, they [the towns] don’t mess with us and we don’t mess with them.” Therein lies the problem—politics—and it explains why neither political party backs Governor Daniels’ plan for permanent property tax relief. Fearing voter outrage that recently unseated Indianapolis’ incumbent Mayor Bart Peterson, the Indiana General Assembly now proposes implementation of a quick-fix bill that will provide property tax relief for some homeowners, but not all, in 2008. Various proposals suggest ways to ‘temporarily’ lower property taxes. The proposals raise the state sales tax and county income tax. These illusions of property tax relief offer no long-term protection for Indiana’s citizens. As outlined in Governor Daniel’s plan, a change to the state’s constitution is required to protect the citizens of Indiana from the Indiana legislature. It is the current members of the general assembly who failed to safeguard one of Indiana’s most cherished values‑‑home ownership. Homeowners, even those without mortgages, now realize they never truly own their homes. The moment they fail to pay the escalating property tax, they face an eviction process.Also see Home Ownership and the Housing Market (Part 1)Also see The Interest Rate CutNote: Andrew Robbins is a staff writer for CSMS Magazine and the author of It Took My Breath Away: One Man’s Experience May Save Your Life.
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