FORT WAYNE – Although the wording on the ballot might be confusing, the choice on amending the state constitution to include property tax caps is simple, according to state Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.
Long, who participated in a pro-caps rally Monday morning, said residents who want stability in their property tax bills should support the referendum. Those who want big swings based on the whims of government should oppose it.
The property tax is unarguably the most unfair and unpopular tax in America, he said. This is why permanent tax caps are so important, because of the security and stability they bring.
Indiana voters are being asked to place tax caps into the state constitution. The caps would limit property tax bills to 1 percent of the value of a person’s home, 2 percent of the value of rental property and 3 percent of the value of a business. The state legislature passed these caps into law, but Long said the constitutional amendment is necessary to make them permanent.
Long said opponents will try to argue the caps shouldn’t be placed in the constitution until their effect is understood fully. He said if the caps aren’t adopted into the constitution, the opponents will file a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.
He acknowledged the opposition could win that argument because the constitution prevents the state from treating types of property differently in assessing taxes.
Christine Schaefer, a real estate agent who hosted the event at her home, said the caps have already saved 37 homeowners on her street a combined $5,300.
Schaefer will save $225 from the caps this year on her northeast Fort Wayne home, according to the county’s online tax database.
She said the amendment will not only protect Hoosiers, but it also provides an incentive for local governments to update their antiquated structure.
If more revenue is needed, they will have the opportunity to ask for it from the voters through a referendum.
The opposition to the caps has been muted, but there has been some confusion about the issue from voters.
People casting early ballots reported confusion by the referendum question and some didn’t know it was going to be on the ballot at all.
Beth Dlug, Allen County elections director, said that confusion has died down recently as people become more informed of the issue.
Long said Monday’s event was an effort to promote what was being asked of voters. He admitted the wording was confusing but said it had to be written in a technical manner.
He said Gov. Mitch Daniels will likely be doing some television commercials in the near future to promote awareness of the question.