Saturday, February 16, 2008



Welcome to the real story of New Albany. Sit back and get a large cup of coffee. You're in for a rude awakening about property taxes and city funds.

First of all, allow us to introduce ourselves. We, like you, call New Albany our home. We live, work and raise our families here. We pay high sewer bills and high property taxes and we have a VOICE...

In fact, the last couple of months we've been burning the roads up from New Albany to Indianapolis fighting for you and what we believe in and that is Fair Property Taxes.

Yes, we do Support Abolishing Property Taxes. But, it looks like to us property owners this plan will not fly yet. So if our legislators and Governor Daniels cap our property taxes at 1% that is at least a start for Property Tax Reform.

We have been meeting with other citizens activists all over the 92 counties of our State.

They are now hearing the same CRAP which we recently read in the local C/J dated Wednesday Feb. 13, 2008.

AND WE QUOTE: The tax plan would reduce the city's property tax revenue by an estimated $377,000 next year and about $353,000 in 2010. That's about 1.4 percent of the city's total budget, including revenue it collects to PAY DEBTS.

"I can't make it" without major cuts, Mayor England said today, "It will be a firehouse or six police officers - no ifs, ands or buts about it."

First of all, that sounds like a THREAT Mayor England.

Second, if you are not up to the task as mayor why not step down and let someone else do what needs to be done for us citizens of New Albany! We live within a budget, why can't you?

Thirdly, we property taxpayers have been hearing this THREAT for the last 16 years by 2 other mayors. If you think Mayor England that you are going to "bully us" into giving in to your other "feel good projects" you are sadly mistaken this time.


Let's look at what you SAY and what YOU HAVE DONE in the first 30 days of your new adminstration:

* YOU HAVE hired two Deputy Mayors
* YOU HAVE hired an asst. for one Deputy Mayor
* YOU HAVE pushed for employee raises
* YOU HAVE received a $11,000 raise
* YOU HAVE a 2nd Code Enforcement Officer
* YOU WANT 4 part-time attorneys beside our city attorney ____________________________________________


Property taxes in Indiana are administered at the local level with oversight by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. DLGF states that more than 99 percent of the revenue generated by our property taxes remain in our community.

Source: Gail Snyder DLGF ------

Freedom Of Speech also received the following e-mail dated: January 11, 2008

Dear Taxpayers of New Albany,

Last year, increases in property taxes around the state spurred a call-to-action at all levels of government to ensure a fair and equitable property tax system for all Hoosier taxpayers.

Property taxes are the primary source of funding for local governments.

Thus, increases - or decreases - in property taxes are a result of "total local spending and fiscal management." The Citizen's Petition and Romonstrance is also part of that effort so taxpayers can ensure their voices are heard.

The DLGF is continully working to assist taxpayers in understanding local government taxation and holding local units of government accountable for responsible spending.


Cheryl A.W. Musgrave

Freedom of Speech would like to say:

Same old scare tactics, we will have to cut back essential services. As usual we see no mention of cuts that involve administrative assistants, billing clerks, engineers, attorneys , consultants or any number of other "essential" personal. Also, no mention of anyone having to give up a take home car, cell phones, perks or why not freeze spending.

Just the tip of the iceberg, but the only cuts our mayor can find are police and fire.

Mayor England...Where have you been? The New Albany Taxpayers have been crying for RELIEF from the high property tax bills. Do you not intend to listen to the Voices of the Taxpayers?

You're driving around town in a $50,000 automobile that the taxpayers are paying for.

Your Deputy Mayors are driving around in city own cars.

Is it true that our city has provided former Mayor Garner a city owned vehicle in his new sewer position?

You as Mayor are only trying to protect your projects, instead of "tightening your spending" to provide relief to property taxpayers.

What do we property taxpayers do with our budgets when our car breaks down, or our kids get sick and when we have large gas or electric bills this winter? We either cut back, go and get another job or work overtime!

But this City, they give raises, don't follow Indiana statutes, and continue to appropriate more money. They stack the boards and play political favorites to get what they want.

Then they threaten to cut services. Why cut services when the City of New Albany taxpayers aren't getting what we paid for anyway?

The burden is always put on the backs of the property owners!

Now Mayor England's answer to all of this is:

Five to six officers could lose their jobs or a fire station might be shut down. "Show me the fat and I'll cut it off. We're at bare bones now."

Our reply Mayor England to you is "Bulls**t." Cut your payroll, lay five to six officers off and stop threatening us property taxpayers!

Freedom Of Speech does not have all the answers, but, we sure know when we are not being given the whole truth!

From Freedom of Speech
Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blunt Proof of the Feasibility to Permanently Abolish Property Tax

Media Contacts:
Melyssa Donaghy 317-938-8913
Max Katz 765-409-6669

Hoosiers For Fair Taxation, Senator Delph, Representative Noe, Representative Elrod and many other legislators along with Stop Indiana, attorney John Price, Eric Miller's Advance America, and the Statewide Taxpayer Alliance know that property tax abolishment, without substantial increases in sales tax and income tax, is realistic and possible. The economist Dr. Bill Styring's 2/2/2 Plan demonstrates that the state of Indiana can completely replace property tax without changing the state's current spending habits.

Dr. Styring's plan does not account for positive changes in Indiana's economy that will undoubtedly follow the elimination of property tax such as heavy real estate investment and increased consumer spending due to increased statewide disposable income. The real estate investment in Indiana alone would cause such an economic boom that it could likely end our abandoned property and foreclosure crisis. Property tax elimination would also likely cause a surge in Indiana's population as more people locate to Indiana to take advantage of real estate purchase opportunities without the burden of property tax. With the population surge would come more sales and income taxes.

The General Assembly does not have to adopt a specific plan until the year 2011. In the meantime, we recommend that the General Assembly approves the 27steps outlined in the report prepared by the Sheperd Kernan commission. While the Governor's commission cannot forecast the savings to the state once the plan is implemented, there is no doubt that the savings would be substantial--perhaps equivalent to the the entire property tax burden currently placed on Indiana's homeowners because our legislators have not had the political will to liberate Indiana's governing structure and her taxpayers from the 19th century.

Our citizen networks will work to replace all legislators who do not support property tax repeal in the November 2008 election.

The 2/2/2 Plan, to replace property taxes in Indiana based upon the latest revenue forecast (07/08 fiscal, estimate):

1) Current IN sales tax (state level rate of 6%): $5.601 billion2% increase would yield an additional $1.867 billion

2) Current corporate profits tax: ~$2 billion

2% increase would yield an additional $.286 billion ($286M)

3) A 2% statewide average of the COIT would yield $2.705 billion to cover local civil units of gov.

By adding these three together ($1.867 billion + $.286 billion + $2.705 billion), a total of $4.858 billion is realized; enough revenue to replace property taxes.

Indiana has a 70-plus year history of attempts to lower property taxes by raising other, non-property taxes. In every case these have failed miserably. The new taxes, or higher rates on old taxes, remain in place. And, in short order, property taxes rise back to their old levels, poised to roar even higher.

--1933. General Assembly imposes two new taxes: an individual gross income tax and a corporate gross income tax. The morgue of the Indianapolis Star indicates that the political leadership at the time said this was for property tax relief (1933 was the pits of the Great Depression, and people were losing their homes. Home prices declined by over 40% in the 1929-1933 period). Property tax relief was nonexistent. The state used the money to bail out the state's own finances.

--1963. General Assembly imposes a new sales tax at a rate of 2% and changes the 1933 individual gross income tax (from 1933) to an adjusted gross income tax (the one we have now) at a rate of 2%. Again, the ostensible reason was for property tax relief and again little PTR was forthcoming.

--1967. Those 1963 tax changes were raising more money than projected. The GA decides to give back 8% of sales and income tax revenue to local government for property tax relief. Local units spent the money. No PTR.

--1973. Gov. Otis Bowen launches the most determined PTR offensive yet. The sales tax goes to 4% and a new corporate supplemental net income (profits) tax is imposed. Strict property tax levy controls are imposed. It works... for a time. By 1980, property taxes adjusted for inflation are some 30% lower than in 1973. When Bowen leaves office the levy controls are relaxed. By the end of the decade, property taxes (adjusted for inflation) are back to 1973 levels. The doubling of the sales tax rate from 2% to 4% remains in place, along with the new corporate SNIT.

--2002. More fiddling with the sales tax in the hope of property tax relief. The results of this are obvious, or we wouldn't be debating the current property tax mess. All of this suggests that unless the property tax is totally ripped up by constitutional amendment, the assessment and collection mechanism dismantled, it will grow back. The PTR-inspired hikes in other taxes remain. That is our history. It is a terrible deal for taxpayers.

2. A vote in the 2008 legislative session for a constitutional amendment to repeal property taxes does not amend the constitution. It merely starts the amendment process. Amendments must be passed by two consecutively elected General Assemblies, then submitted to a referendum. Thus any amendment passed by the '08 Assembly must be passed by either the 2009 or 2010 legislatures, then submitted to the voters at the 2010 general election. The General Assembly does not need to decide on a "replacement revenue" package until the 2011 session.

3. What might such a "replacement revenue" package look like? The particular answer will come from the 2011 General Assembly and cannot be determined now (if for no other reason than forecasting state level taxes and property taxes out that far would be a most unreliable exercise. No one need be locked into any particular plan just yet. However, as an illustration that a replacement plan is feasible and less scary than many fear (we don't need to be talking about a 12% or 13% sales tax ... in fact, we should not be), consider just this one possibility.

Local sales taxes are generally very bad policy, for a whole host of reasons too numerous to mention in this short sketch. Sales and corporate taxes are best levied at the state level. It happens that roughly a 2% increase in the sales tax and a 2% increase in the corporate profits tax roughly take care of school propertytaxes. The loss of local control by the state assuming school property taxes is minimal. About the onlylocal control left is on building projects.

For local civil units, a statewide average increase in the individual adjusted gross income tax of about 2% suffices to replace local civil government property taxes, higher than 2% in some units, less than 2% in others.

Thus, a "2-2-2" plan~2% sales and 2% corporate profits at the state level for schools and a 2% average on personal income taxes for civil units—is about what would be needed. This is merely a ballpark projection to 2011.

There may be better plans, it's really a policy question for the General Assembly: do you want to make the trade of something like this in exchange for no-property-taxes-forever-on-anything? Everyone understands "zero."

4. Are there "practical problems? Of course. The two identified are how to make the civil government transition from a property tax base to an income tax base, and how to handle debt backed by property taxes. Without elaborating, the former can be handled using locator software (Map quest-type programs). The debt problem might be handled by treating the current state paid PTRC's as in lieu of property taxes (which they are) and paying PT-backed debt service from each unit's own PTRC.

Conclusion: Total elimination of the property tax via constitutional amendment is the only way to give property tax relief that will stick. The other tax action necessary to achieve this goal—in 2011-are large but not so scary as "a 13% sales tax." They are feasible. The question is for the General Assembly. Are we going to once again go down that 70-odd year path of failed PTR policies or are we going to rip the property tax up by the roots?

Posted by Hoosiers For Fair Taxation on Friday, January 4, 2008.