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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Our turn for war

Hoosiers' "war on the property tax" makes the Los Angeles Times:

But when the bill arrived this summer, Hile's annual taxes were almost 200% higher than before -- an extra $3,000 a year. It's more than she can afford to pay.

"I can't afford to keep my house," said Hile, 48, a medical writer for pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly & Co. "I feel very stuck, and I'm very afraid. For the first time in my life, I'm thinking about just walking away from everything."

She's not alone.

Indiana homeowners are waging war against a system they see as inconsistent and unfair. Many politicians agree with their view. Property tax revenue traditionally helps fund local governments, which set the amounts and help distribute the money to local entities that provide services.

In Indiana, state officials said, there are about 1,000 local township assessors. These elected officials are responsible for, among other tasks, evaluating a property's worth and sending that information on to the state's 92 county assessors, who use the assessments to help set the property tax bills.

State law requires that assessments be based partly on a property's market value, how much it could be sold for. But not all assessors follow state guidelines on how local tax assessments should be conducted -- or are even formally trained to do the job in the first place, said Gov. Mitch Daniels.

"As a result, the process can be unfair," Daniels said in a recent interview. "The local assessments are in some cases outright botched.

Seems like California had its on war on property taxes. Remember Howard Jarvis and Proposition 13 and the resulting nationwide revolt against taxes that helped put Ronald Reagan in the White House?